The project, which is ahead of schedule, will be the new home for the men's and women's basketball teams starting with the 2010-2011 season. The arena is expected to be finished in plenty of time for the start of the fall semester in August.
"This arena is going to be fun to play in," Byars says. "This one is going to have some atmosphere."
The Auburn basketball teams are moving from Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. That facility was opened in January 1969.
"When we interviewed architects for this project, one of the questions the architects were asked is, ‘How do you design character?' because obviously the people who designed Beard-Eaves, and I don't know who designed it, designed a lot of things into it, but character is not one of them. You go to places like Cameron Indoor Arena (Duke) and Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas) and they are unique and they have character.
"One of the things I think the architects have done with the Auburn Arena is design a place with character," Byars adds. "I believe it is going to be an exciting place to watch a basketball game."
Randy Byars walks down the hall in the coaching staff suites at the Auburn Arena.
Byars notes the project is ahead of schedule and there is a chance that Auburn fans in town for the A-Day Football Game on April 17th will be allowed to take tours of the arena.
The architects were asked to design an arena that puts fans as close to the action as possible to give Auburn a strong homecourt advantage. Byars says they have succeeded.
"The seats are so close to the court we are having a hard time getting the scoring tables in there and having enough room to get around on the floor," he says. "It is going to be very tight. The visiting team should have a challenge playing here."
Byars says one of the features he believes fans will enjoy is the Lovelace Museum, which was formerly located in the football complex. Currently closed, it will reopen in the north concourse area of the new arena and will be larger and much more high-tech with interactive features and significantly more video than the old facility.
"It is a lot different than the old one," Byars says. "It is not boxed in by walls. You can tour it before game, halftime, after the game. You can tour during the game, but we would prefer you watch the game.
"It will be much more modern and will try to appeal to a much broader audience from young kids to the older generations," he notes. "We are trying to have a lot of interactives involved. There is a video wall.
"One of the things we are trying to do is not show as many artifacts--a trophy, a helmet and that type of thing. What we want to do is convey to the public is what makes Auburn unique. We talk a lot about the Auburn spirit and what it means to be a part of the Auburn family. We want to talk about what makes us different from other schools."
A view of the steps to the concourse level is shown inside the main entrance to Auburn Arena.
Another view of the interior of the north entrance of the arena is shown.
Fans entering on the north side of the arena will take steps up to the main concourse level.
The Lovelace Museum will be on the main concourse level on the north side of the arena. It was previously located at the football complex.
The view of the arena floor is from the main concourse level on the north side of the arena.
Handicap seating viewing areas will feature companion seats.
Pictured is a handicap seating area on the west side of the arena.
Auburn officials say the concession areas will feature upgraded food choices over what was available at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
The arena will feature signage honoring former Auburn teams and players.
A view of the east side upper level seats is shown.
The concourse level scholarship donor lounge is expected to be a popular gathering place for Auburn fans. It will also be available for campus groups to use for special events.
A deck on the scholarship lounge will have a view to the east where Jordan-Hare Stadium and Plainsman Park are located.
The banners of retired jerseys at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum will be replaced by signage at the new arena.
The control room for events is in the upper level of the north side of the arena.
The new arena will feature more restrooms for women than Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum has.
A view of the arena is taken from the south side concourse level.
The premium courtside seating section is shown on the east side of the basketball floor. The students will have the prime courtside seats on the south, north and west sides of the basketball floor.
A view of the practice arena is shown from the coaching staff's office area. The practice courts are on the south end of the complex next to Roosevelt Drive.
Another view of the practice courts, which are on the ground level on the southwest side of the complex, is shown. The players will have access to the facilities seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Shown is the head coach's office for women's basketball, which is located on the southeast side of the arena.
Plainsman Park is seen in the background in the view from the women's team head coach's office.
The men's basketball head coach's office and suites for the staff are also located on the second floor of the facility on the southeast side of the arena. In the background is Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The men's locker room is located on the south side of the arena near the practice courts.