Byars says the arena, which will seat approximately 9,600 fans and includes the new Lovelace Museum plus a separate training facility and offices for the men's and women's basketball teams, is 56 percent finished.
Randy Byars is shown outside the north end of the arena with the new dorm village shown in the background.
On an average workday approximately 200 construction workers are involved in the project, which is the single largest athletic construction project in Auburn history.
Budgeted to cost $92 million, the bid came in approximately $9 million under budget. Approximately $3 million in upgrades were added to the project and around $6 million will be used to build a new facility for the track and field teams plus the women's soccer team that will be built between the soccer field and the Hutsell-Rosen Track starting in August.
Byars says the project will cost $85,482,000, including furniture and architect's fees.
Crews are currently finishing the roof that will allow for the builders to begin doing construction work that needs to be in the dry.
A view from the upper level of the arena is shown taken on Wednesday.
Byars says that the quality of construction is very high for the project. Harbert International of Birmingham is the primary contractor.
"The finishes are just going to be phenomenal from the seating to the graphics that will be around the whole thing," he says. "We have a $450,000 graphics package...I think from a finish level it will be best the facility in the SEC. When you just walk into it you will say ‘wow.' You walk into some of the other facilities in the SEC and you might saw wow because they are huge, but they are just big arenas. This one will be wow from what we have done to make it unique."
A sample of the terrazo flooring that will be used on the concourses is shown.
Some of the features of the project include:
*Two full-sized basketball practice courts are part of the project so the men's and women's teams will always have a court to practice on even if the main floor is being used for another activity.
*A new on-campus restaurant facility, which is located on the north side of the arena, is scheduled to open next month along with the new Auburn Village Dorm project, which is nearing completion. Basketball players and other athletes will live in the new dorms, which will be just a short walk from the arena.
*Students will have their own entrance to the arena and their own lobby area on the north side of the facility, which will be accessed from a large plaza that will serve the new dorm complex as well as the new dining facility.
*Twelve luxury suites will be located on the east side of the arena and will have a view of Jordan-Hare Stadium and Plainsman Park. The suiteholders will also be able to use their suites during football weekends.
*Scholarship donors will also have their own entrance to the arena on southeast side of the facility and will have access to a room where they will be served food and beverages that has a view of the arena floor as well as Jordan-Hare Stadium to the east. That area will be also used a banquet facility, with full kitchen, that can be used for events by campus and other organizations.
*Byars says that most of the concession areas will have their own kitchens and there are plans for upgrading the quality of the food served at games. Fans in line at the concession stands will be able to see the arena floor. "You don't have to leave the action to go to get something to eat or drink," he says.
The east side of the arena will feature a scholarship room that can also be used for banquets. It has a view of Jordan-Hare Stadium and Plainsman Park.
Commenting on the concession areas, Byars says, "It won't be like the old concession stands. It will be more toward a sports bar feel."
*Byars says the upper level seats, approximately 1,400 of them, should be some of the best in the arena with the seats hanging over the lower level seats to get fans close to the action.
*Students will have 1,500 seats next to the court on three sides of the arena floor. "The students will get bleacher seats because they don't sit a whole lot," says Byars, who adds, "There is not a bad seat in the house. We want the students up and active during the game."
This view shows the southeast entrance, which will be used by the players, coaches and scholarship donors to enter the arena.
*All of the seats in the arena, except for the student section, will have chairbacks with cupholders. Myers says that the seats will be high quality and much more comfortable than the wooden ones at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
The view shows the lower level seating arena (right) on the east side of the arena that will be premium seats.
*A new scoreboard with video screens is scheduled to be installed in October. Byars says it will be a state of the art scoreboard that will be the equal of any at NBA arenas.
*Fans going to seats will have handrails, something that planners were told was a high priority for patrons of Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
*The Lovelace Museum, which will be adjacent to the north entrance, will be 6,000 square feet and will be next to the Basketball Hall of Honor. The museum is scheduled to be interactive providing fans with many hours of entertainment.
*Plans call for a graphics package that will include photos of Auburn's previous basketball arenas--Alumni Hall, The Sports Arena and Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. There will be a wall inside the north entrance 70 feet long, 15 feet high that will include graphics featuring Auburn's all-time great basketball players.
The east side of the arena will have a view of Jordan-Hare Stadium through large windows.
*The arena is being designed for basketball, but will also be used for gymnastics, concerts and graduation ceremonies. Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, which was opened in 1969, was designed as a multi-purpose facility. No plans have been finalized on what will be done with the coliseum although planners have discussed replacing it with a parking deck and/or green space. The coliseum also houses some athletic department offices in addition to the physical education department.
*The new arena will have workout areas for the men's and women's basketball teams, separate full courts for each team, state of the art locker rooms, coaching office suites that include areas for the coaches to entertain recruits and other visitors.
*The lower level seats in the arena will be blue, the concourse level seats will be orange and the upper level seats will be blue.
A view is shown of what will be a plaza area at the north entrance to the arena, which will be the front door to the facility. The arena is on the right and the new restaurant area, which will open later this summer, is in the background.
*The energy load is expected to be less than 50 percent of the load at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
*Fans who visit the restrooms will be able to keep up with the action because there will be speakers that will enable fans to listen to The Auburn Network's game broadcast.