Georgia Tech unveiled the look of the new $45-million Thrillerdome on Tuesday.
What was Alexander Memorial Coliseum will soon be Hank McCamish Pavilion, named for Hank McCamish who donated $15 million toward the construction of the new home of the Yellow Jackets’ men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Board of Regents approved the project, as well as the construction of the indoor football facility, last week.
Athletics director Dan Radakovich said they hope to break ground on McCamish in the spring of next year and move in during the fall of 2012. Philips Arena and/or Gwinnett Arena may be the teams’ home for the 2011 season. Radakovich said they hope to announce that within the next four months.
The McCamish Pavilion, which will have a seating capacity of 8,900, was designed from the inside out, according to Radakovich, with the idea to enhance the spectators’ experiences. AMC seats 9,191.
One of the notable improvements will be a broad main entrance at the corner of 10th and Fowler Streets that Radakovich said will give the building curb appeal. There will be two more entrances, one for students farther up Fowler Street and another exclusive entrance for donors located behind the building where the parking lot is located.
When fans enter the building, they will walk in a large, open concourse that stretches 270 degrees around the court, which will be visible. Radakovich said that openness was an important asset, noting that the closed-off concourse design of AMC can make it difficult to know where you are in relation to the court.
“You’ll know you are in the basketball arena,” Radakovich said.
There will be no suites in the arena. When considering that feature, Radakovich said it was decided that suites were not necessary because of the shortness of the basketball season and that this will be a basketball-only facility. He said there are numerous other places in the city that host concerts and other events. He also noted that with the exception of multi-purpose units that some ACC teams use, few other collegiate basketball arenas have suites.
Instead, McCamish will feature a club that will feature two different seating areas. One area, containing approximately 500 seats, is exclusive for certain donors who have access to the exclusive entrance behind the building. The other exclusive area has 300 seats. The 270-degree concourse actually stops at either end where the 500-seat area starts. That area is located across from the benches.
Most of the seats will be chair-back and there will be an upper deck that has 1,800 seats. The student section will be behind the baskets, very close to Bobby Cremins court.
The decision to rename the building was made because Radakovich said the makeover is so extreme, “the only thing that’s missing is Ty Pennington and that crew.”
Instead, there will be an outdoor courtyard to honor William Alexander, complete with a bust of him and a list of the basketball teams’ notable accomplishments. Alexander was Tech’s third athletics director and football coach from 1920-1944.