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The Reimagined Pavilion... Reimagined

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Based on the example of other universities in creating facilities for their basketball programs, it appears that there is a much better approach than that proposed by Villanova's Administration and Athletic Department to spend $50 million renovating the Pavilion.

On Christmas Eve, we asked the VUHoops readers what they thought of Villanova’s proposal to spend $50 million renovating the Pavilion. Over 1,000 readers participated in our poll. The overwhelming response – tear it down and build a 10,000 seat facility on the site.

So what would a 10,000 seat modern facility cost? To answer that, we researched the cost of college basketball arenas built since 1990 with basketball seating capacity between 10,000 and 11,000 seats. Costs were restated into 2014 dollars using the Turner Building Cost Index, which measures cost inflation of the non-residential building construction market in the United States.

We found eleven college basketball arenas meeting our criteria using data sourced from Wikipedia, many of which should be very familiar to Villanova fans. Almost half cost less to build (in 2014 dollars) than the the current $50 million proposal to renovate the Pavilion (maintaining the existing capacity of 6,500 seats). What follows is a synopsis of the eleven.

As you look at the eleven facilities, you may find yourself wondering whether any of them would fit in the existing site plan.  At the end of this article, I included a scaled site plan with the footprint of the The Stan Sheriff Center superimposed thereon.  The good news is that it appears to be feasible!

Let us know what you think by participating in the new poll at the end of this article.

Galen Center

Galen Center (USC, Los Angeles, CA)

Capacity: 10,258

Completed: 2006

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $159 million

The Galen Center is a multipurpose indoor arena and athletic facility owned and operated by the University of Southern California. It is located across the street from the campus and is the home of the USC Trojans basketball and USC volleyball teams. The architectural firm is HNTB. The Galen Center also hosts concerts, pageants and theatrical performances. Local high school graduation ceremonies as well as CIF championships and the Academic Decathlon are held at the Galen Center. The annual Kids' Choice Awards are being held there.

Ford Center

Ford Center (Evansville, Evansville, IN)

Capacity: 10,000

Completed: 2011

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $131 million

The Ford Center is a multi-use indoor arena in downtown Evansville that is primarily used for basketball, ice hockey, and music concerts. It is home to the Evansville Purple Aces basketball teams and the Evansville IceMen minor league hockey team of the ECHL.

Liacouras Center

Liacouras Center (Temple, Philadelphia, PA)

Capacity: 10,205

Completed: 1997

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $87 million

The Liacouras Center is located on the Temple University campus along North Broad Street in North Philadelphia. The venue is a full entertainment arena featuring concerts, family shows, Temple Men’s and Women’s Basketball games, Philadelphia KiXX games, Philly Roller Girls bouts, and other events. The Liacouras Center is Philadelphia's largest indoor venue north of City Hall.

Chaifetz Arena

Chaifetz Arena (St. Louis, St. Louis, MO)

Capacity: 10,600

Completed: 2008

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $86 million

Chaifetz Arena, located on the campus of Saint Louis University, is a multi-purpose arena. In 2007, Chicago-based businessman Richard A. Chaifetz, CEO of ComPsych Corporation and 1975 graduate of SLU, made a $12 million donation to the university, which named the arena in his honor.

JQH Arena

JQH Arena (Missouri State, Springfield, MO)

Capacity: 11,000

Completed: 2008

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $71 million

JQH Arena is a basketball and special events arena in Springfield. It is located on the campus of Missouri State University and is the home of the Missouri State Bears and Lady Bears basketball teams.

Cintas Center

Cintas Center (Xavier, Cincinnati, OH)

Capacity: 10,250

Completed: 2000

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $53 million

Cintas Center is a multi-purpose arena and conference center at Xavier University. Construction funding was through private donations as part of Xavier University's Century Campaign. It is home to the Xavier University Musketeers basketball and volleyball teams. It is named for the uniform company Cintas.

Nutter Center

Nutter Center (Wright State, Fairborn, OH)

Capacity: 10,400

Completed: 1990

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $44 million

The Wright State University Nutter Center is a multi-purpose arena located at Wright State University. In addition to hosting the Wright State Raiders basketball team, the Nutter Center serves as a music venue for touring concerts and shows. High schools in the area also commonly use the arena to host graduation ceremonies.

Convocation Center

Convocation Center (Northern Illinois, DeKalb, IL)

Capacity: 10,000

Completed: 2002

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $41 million

Northern Illinois University's Convocation Center is a multi-purpose arena and home to both the Northern Illinois Huskies men's basketball and women's basketball teams, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics, and women's indoor track and field squads. The Convocation Center also houses many other events including the opening convocation ceremony for freshmen, concerts, job fairs, expositions, and the annual graduation ceremony.

Stan Sheriff Center

Stan Sheriff Center (Hawaii, Honolulu, HI)

Capacity: 10,300

Completed: 1994

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $39 million

The Stan Sheriff Center is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Initially named the Special Events Arena in when it opened, the arena was renamed in 1998 after the late Stan Sheriff, a former UH athletic director who lobbied for its construction.

Harry A. Gampel Pavilion

Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (Connecticut, Storrs, CT)

Capacity: 10,167

Completed: 1990

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $36 million

Harry A. Gampel Pavilion is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of the University of Connecticut. The arena is the largest on-campus arena in New England. It was named after industrialist and 1943 UConn graduate Harry A. Gampel, a philanthropist who donated one million dollars for the construction of the arena. It is the primary home to the Connecticut Huskies men's basketball, women's basketball, and women's volleyball teams.


Mitchell Center

Mitchell Center (South Alabama, Mobile, AL)

Capacity: 10,041

Completed: 1998

Cost in 2014 Dollars: $35 million

Mitchell Center is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of the University of South Alabama. It is the home court for the University of South Alabama Jaguars basketball teams. The Center is named for the Mitchell family, local real estate developers who gave $1 million for construction of the Center.

Food For Thought

Assuming Villanova could get a 10,000 seat arena plan past Radnor's Zoning Board, would it even fit within the footprint of Villanova's current athletics complex?  While setbacks could be an issue (I am no architect), superimposing a domed arena the size of either Harry A. Gampel Pavilion or The Stan Sheriff Center (both domes are 320 feet in diameter) does indeed fit in the existing grounds.  The first drawing below is a scaled site plan created with the help of Google Earth.

The second drawing shows a alternate site plan with additional land acquired by Villanova from eight homeowners bordering the Pavilion and parking area (the homes are valued by Zillow at ~ $300,000 each) and the relocation of a portion of County Line Road closer to the railroad tracks.

Finally, if you want to dream even bigger, read NovaDave's FanPost, "A comprehensive plan for the new Wawa Arena at Villanova and the future of Villanova athletics."

Arena Superimposed on Existing Site

VU Athletics Footprint With Domed Arena

Arena Superimposed on Expanded Site

Modified Site Plan with Added Land