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Akron: University of Akron: Development and News

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Related development, from the 3/7/06 Akron Beacon Journal:

 

 

PHOTO: When the $32 million Exchange Street building opens in 2007, it will be the largest housing complex at the University of Akron.

 

University of Akron's new housing complex will be edifying experience when complete

Big plan on campus

$32 million Exchange Street hall to open in 2007 for 470 students

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

Sure, you see dirt and mud and mess right now. But the new housing going up at Exchange and Grant streets should be the most glamorous ever at the University of Akron.

 

From stackable washers and dryers to floor-to-ceiling glass walls, the Exchange Street complex is meant to go beyond anything now offered in UA's 14 residence halls, apartment buildings and town homes...

 

more at:  http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/14036636.htm

 

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From the Akron Buchtelite:

 

 

RENDERING: The new Auburn Science Center addition will feature machine shops and a glass display case.  COURTESY OF UA

 

PHOTO: The university plans on eliminating parking deck 36, which is attached to the Auburn Science Center on Carroll Street.  WESLEY BOETTNER/THE BUCHTELITE

 

PLANS: Interior  COURTESY OF UA

 

UA will close Auburn deck

Buchtelite Staff Reporter

news@buchtelite.com

     

The University of Akron is in the planning stages of constructing a new engineering facility that will replace Parking Deck 36, the 230-space faculty deck on Carroll Street.

 

The 10,000 square foot building will be added onto the Auburn Science Center, according to Ted Curtis, vice president of capital planning and facilities management.

 

Curtis said the space will be used for classrooms and laboratory space. The building will also include a machine shop and a glass display case that will be visible from outside.

 

"The first level of the existing parking will be used for the design center," Curtis said. "The second level will be used for biology expansion."

 

The construction of the new building will be funded through donations.

 

No date has been set for the start of construction.

 

The loss of 230 spaces will put a strain on parking on the west side of campus, Jim Stafford, director of parking services said.

 

"You take (the Auburn) deck away and there's going to be problems," Stafford said.

 

Faculty aren't the only ones who will be hunting for more parking spots. He said 150 spaces have already been removed in front of Gallucci Hall, due to a new residence hall currently under construction.

 

"What can I do?" Stafford said. "There's no place to put a big surface lot."

 

Stafford said putting in another deck takes a year to build after plans are drafted.

 

In the meantime, Stafford suggests faculty and students strap on their walking shoes.

 

"This is not a big campus. From the East Campus Parking Deck to Polsky is a 15 minute walk," he said. "If you told someone at Kent State they can walk somewhere in 15 minutes, they'd think they died and gone to heaven."

 

http://www.buchtelite.com/2006/0302/news_02.shtml

 

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"This is not a big campus. From the East Campus Parking Deck to Polsky is a 15 minute walk," he said. "If you told someone at Kent State they can walk somewhere in 15 minutes, they'd think they died and gone to heaven."

 

^ Agreed.  I used to walk from the main campus to the Polsky Building downtown and back all the time, it's not that far.

 

I love all the changes being made on the U of A campus.  It's looks so different now from the how it looked when I attended.  It's still very much an urban campus, yet it feels much more like a "college campus" now; the campus seemed very bland when I attended.

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From the (UA) Buchtelite, 5/3/06:

 

 

PHOTO: Students eat lunch in Robertson Cafe.  The diner will soon undergo renovations that will cost the university $4.7 million.  LISA KOPEC/THE BUCHTELITE

 

Robertson Cafe to get facelift

$4.7 million project will create restaurant environment on campus

by Lisa Kopec

News Editor

news@buchtelite.com

 

Walking to lunch is similar to going back in time when students eat at Robertson Cafe. Not much has changed since the north campus cafeteria opened in the 1960s. The faded pink walls and gloomy laminated flooring, though, will soon be a thing of a past.

 

The University of Akron board of trustees gave the go ahead for a $4.7 million dollar reconstruction project to transform the dated dining facility last week.

 

The university will work to create a more modern environment for the 450-seat dining facility.

 

"It's going to change into more of a food court, like the Union Market," said vice president of capital planning Ted Curtis.

 

All food stations will be refurbished and only the most popular ones will be kept. "We are looking for more display cooking," said Zia Ahmed, director of University Dining Services.

 

Display cooking is when customers choose from a buffet of ingredients, then a cook prepares the meal in front of you. Ahmed hopes to see a stir-fry station in the new facility.

 

Some display cooking is already being implemented in Rob's.

 

"The bananas foster dessert we are currently doing has been very successful," Ahmed said.

 

The bananas foster bar allows students to choose from brown sugar, butter, nutmeg and other banana coating ingredients. The banana is lit on fire then served over ice cream. "You see the action," Ahmed said.

 

He said Dining Services would like to make the reconstructed cafeteria more entertaining.

 

"Quality food taste and smell are important, but the surrounding environment plays a critical role," Ahmed said.

 

The seating areas will completely change.

 

"Seating is always very important because it is how you decide how much time you are going to spend in a facility," Ahmed said. "If you provide comfortable seating, people will come back.

 

The current pull-out chairs and rectangle tables will be gone.

 

"We may have a good balance of booth seating and other types of restaurant seating," he said.

 

Although the cafeteria will have more of a food court atmosphere, dining prices will still be all you would like to eat. Individual meal prices are not expected to increase as a result of the reconstruction.

 

Preparations for the project will begin with six to nine months of drawing, Curtis said. Dining services will collaborate with Student Life and Housing and other student organizations to engage in focus groups. The groups will give the university a better idea of what students are interested in seeing.

 

The university will work for six to nine months with Hasenstab Architects to draw the blueprints. After drawings are complete, there will be two months of public bidding for a construction company.

 

Construction is expected to take nine months.

 

They plan to have the facility ready for fall 2007.

 

"You will be pleasantly surprised," Ahmed said.

 

http://www.buchtelite.com/2006/0502/news_04.shtml

 

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From the 8/5/06 ABJ:

 

 

UA painstakingly buying up land

Plan for new university ball fields would remove some housing, including rowdy Kathryn Place

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

Tim Cameron wanted a cheap apartment, close to other University of Akron students.

 

He found it in a modest house on Wheeler Alley, next to the infamous Kathryn Place, the site of student unrest in springs gone past.

 

The Medina education major landed in what has been a Mecca for UA students over the years. The area south of UA is full of rental housing at affordable rates in turn-of-the-century homes...

 

more at:  http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/15205506.htm?source=rss&channel=ohio_news

 

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From the 8/28/06 (UA) Buchtelite:

 

 

Renovations to enhance west campus

Elise Wiens

Staff Reporter

ewiens@buchtelite.com

 

The University of Akron hopes the cavernous halls of the Polsky Building will be more vibrant this fall as recent renovations bring a new Starbucks and Barnes & Noble to downtown Akron.

 

"We have wanted to make Polsky's feel, and in fact be, a much more enjoyable working and studying environment," said president Luis Proenza. "The new renovations do just that."

 

The third floor of the former department store-turned-academic building has undergone a $1 million renovation, which includes the addition of a new Barnes & Noble store, a Starbucks coffee shop, the Summit Bistro food court, outside improvements, an information center and more.

 

The new 1,200 square foot Starbucks coffee shop, though owned by the university, will offer all of the traditional Starbucks coffee and blended beverages. The 5,464 square foot Barnes & Noble store will also function as a more traditional store, selling not only textbooks, but best-selling books, snacks and other items as well.

 

The new Mediterranean-themed Summit Bistro is an addition to the old food court and now includes made-to-order deli sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and other "comfort food" selections for quick meals for students between classes.

 

"The addition of Starbucks, the new grill and Barnes & Noble will make it accessible to students to do a great deal of their classes there … it is expanding the amenities that students find valuable for discussion, grabbing lunch, accessing books, etc.," Proenza said.

 

The new information center features a satellite Zip Card office, Zippy Express food delivery and a new DocuZip store, offering copying services, UPS shipping, faxing, document scanning and lamination.

 

Developments on other floors of the building have also taken place, including more in the continuing expansion of the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing located on the fifth floor. The new phase includes state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, a business incubator site, a library room, an infomercial studio and a student study area.

 

"Bringing national retailers such as Starbucks and Barnes & Noble into downtown Akron is a terrific addition to the ongoing transformation of downtown," said Kimberlee McKee, president of the Downtown Akron Partnership. "Both of these establishments are assets to the businesses and visitors downtown and we expect even more retailers to follow their lead over the next several years."

 

As usual, the university is pleased to grow downtown.

 

"The University of Akron is delighted to be a part of the increasingly vibrant downtown area," Proenza said. "The presence of leading retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Starbucks, as well as the new and improved university stores, will undoubtedly help to spur the continued transformation of downtown Akron."

 

http://www.buchtelite.com/2006/0828/news_08.shtml

 

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There's a LOT going on at my Alma Mater...here's what's being done right now!

 

Exchange Street Residence Hall

slide3.jpg

Considering that The Honors Residence Hall just opened in 2004, this is a further step the school is taking to becoming more residential...470 beds, apartment style, with retail on the 1st floor!

One of the on-going rumors is that the University will close 3 smaller halls on East Quad, to build this..

 

New Football Stadium

01a.jpg

Our stadium is 7 miles away from campus...this would be RIGHT THERE on the heart of campus! The word on campus is they have the cash, but they want to secure more money and funding so that the stadium is self-sufficient!

 

Campus Living Room

OutdoorLiving.jpg

Currently the University has 2 central quads...this will likely be the main one when it is done.

 

Polsky Building

polskysummit.jpg

This is where the Community College of Akron is (known as Summit) although the exterior part was recently done, the major element is the food court/bookstore, where the food court was renovated, Barnes and Noble was expanded, and Starbucks was added.

 

They are also building a UA Medina satellite campus and a workforce center in Barberton...

Mind you, this is all after the massive Landscape for Learning project.

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It has been amazing seeing all the changes going on with campus. Numbers of incoming Freshman and applications to the law school have gone up tremendously. The University will be the engine for positive change in the city.....

 

 

GO ZIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Looks great!

 

I know UA has a great polymer program, but what else is it known for?  What are UA's biggest majors?  Even though I graduated from OSU, I still get a kick out of seeing Ohio's other universities expanding their facilities and improving their repuatations because the OU's, UT's, UC's, UA's, etc are so important to Ohio's future.

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Anything Communications-related (PR, Broadcast, Radio, Production) is Big at Akron...but not Journalism. That's Kent's department. :-)

 

Law, Nursing, Dance, and of course, Polymer Science are some of the top rated programs in the region.

 

We also have a great Business college, and Engineering is pretty big too.

 

It's nice to see that an OSU alum sees the importance of the other Ohio schools...some don't!

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From the 9/7/06 (UA) Buchtelite:

 

 

World-class dance facility unites arts school

by Aniqa Feerasta

Buchtelite News Reporter

Staff

news@buchtelite.com

 

The University of Akron's new dance facility leaves some people light- headed.

 

Maybe it's the state of the art dance studios or perhaps it's the stunning three-story atrium.

 

Dance instructor Cyndie Sophn said she thinks it's the contrast from the old dance studio that leaves them spinning.

 

"The students realize it's a real privilege to be in a space like this," she said.

 

Among the facility's features are seven technology-enhanced dance studios including an experimental performance venue, scene and costume shops, a design and lighting studio, trainer and physiotherapy facilities and technology-enhanced classrooms.

 

When students first step in the 50,834 square-foot addition to Guzzetta Hall, they are in a daze, Sophn said. The addition was designed to be a center for dance and theater, which brings the School of Music and the School of Dance, Theater and Arts Administration under one roof.

 

When Sara Shumaker stepped into Guzzetta Hall for the first time this semester, she said she was more than a little surprised.

 

The colorful $11.1 million addition to Guzzetta Hall has already made her semester.

 

Shumaker, a sophomore dance major, has been accustomed to rehearsing in the cramped quarters of a renovated church that once housed the Ballet Center on E. Market Street, which was at least a 10-minute walk from campus.

 

When Shumaker returned to Akron this semester, she was thrilled to have a "dazzling, world-class facility right out the back door" from her residence in the Honors Complex.

 

The physical proximity of the schools of dance and music, as well as the high tech environment, makes the creative and collaborative possibilities endless, said university spokesperson Cyndee Ramsthaler. Plans are already underway for distinguished choreographers in other parts of the country to instruct students in the studio via the building's new distance learning studios.

 

Administrators also expect to attract renowned performers to utilize the building, further enriching the learning environment for students.

 

The most important aspect of the building to sophomore Britney Egzili, however, is the ability to dance freely, "without there being a big metal pole or another person in your way."

 

Sophn agreed.

 

"Here students have more room to be creative," she said. "I hope the expansion of space brings an expansion in the way students move."

 

Ultimately, the benefits of the project extend beyond the dance program. In addition to creating an impressive dance facility, the project complements the presence of E.J. Thomas Hall by enriching the cultural and artistic environment on campus, Ramsthaler said.

 

http://www.buchtelite.com/2006/0907/news_04.shtml

 

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From the 10/6/06 ABJ:

 

 

UA to buy land for entrance

University to buy site of Urban League, which is moving to new home

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

The University of Akron plans to buy the current home of the Akron Urban League and turn it into a new entrance for its campus.

 

The one-acre property at 250 E. Market St. "will provide a nice vista for the campus,'' said Ted Curtis, UA vice president for capital planning and facilities management. "It will become one of our premier locations.''...

 

more at:  http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/15693318.htm?source=rss&channel=ohio_news

 

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From the 10/24/06 ABJ:

 

 

UA dorm ahead of schedule

Exterior construction on track to be done by end of year; building expected to be ready for fall 2007

By Marilyn Miller

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

Construction of the six-floor, University of Akron housing complex at East Exchange and Grant streets is ahead of schedule.

 

The Moser Construction Co. of Rootstown is the primary masonry contractor for the $32 million project, which will provide 195,320 square feet of space.

 

"We are a month ahead of schedule,'' said project manager Matt Birch of Moser. "We started in March, but will have the outside structure completed by the end of the year.''...

 

More at:  http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/business/15834472.htm?source=rss&channel=ohio_business

 

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From the 2/12/07 ABJ:

 

 

UA envisions Greek Village

Neighborhood on eastern edge of campus; fraternity and sorority use is one option

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

The University of Akron is in the very early stages of carving out three blocks near state Route 8 for a possible Greek Village.

 

Eventually, all of UA's 22 fraternities and sororities could have their homes on the eastern edge of campus, just east of the proposed football stadium.

 

Ted Curtis, vice president for capital planning and facilities management, envisions brick piers and iron fences to bound Greek Village and give it a sense of community unlike anything else on the campus...

 

more at:  http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/16679999.htm?source=rss&channel=ohio_news

 

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It's so nice to see an article about UA that's NOT "Ua is taking over Akron- Woe is us!" for once....

 

UA students living upstairs have stores downstairs

Retail is new dorm detail

 

By Betty Lin-Fisher

Beacon Journal business writer

 

Published on Tuesday, Sep 04, 2007

 

One day last week, Rachael Tirpak and Kelley Valardo decided to go shopping.

 

They didn't have to go far. In fact, they didn't really even have to leave their University of Akron dormitory.

http://www.ohio.com/news/top_stories/9558017.html

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I hope the University of Akron does take over Akron. They're doing cool, visionary things.

 

People in Akron tend to think that the "great manufacturing jobs" of days of yore will return. Therefore, there is an attitude that Higher Education=BAD, which is even reflected in some of the mayor's attitudes.

Why it's like this, I haven't the slightest idea-because if UA wasn't there (or wasn't growing) I would shudder to think how Akron would be.

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Quite a bit of construction going on the SE corner of campus right now.  In addition to the stadium, construction has started on Spicer Village a block or two South of the Stadium.  I didn't even know they had started on Spicer Village, but sure enough, they are building.  Hopefully things in this area can stick even with a downturn in the housing market.

 

Stadium Cams:

http://www.uakron.edu/stadium/cams/videoFeed.html

 

Spicer Village:

http://www.spicervillage.com/spicernews1.asp

 

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Good catch!  That looks pretty sweet.  I wasn't aware this had started either.  Quite the diverse range of student living options now and coming on-line. 

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I was just in that area a couple of weeks ago looking at the stadium site and didn't even notice that they had started on Spicer Village.  I noticed they cleared the South Stadium Square block on Main St. downtown as well.  A lot going on around the UofA and downtown, great to see!

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Well, Carroll hall at UofA came down recently, moving further along in "The New Landscape for Learning" project.  Carroll was one of those old square, yellow brick building with little or no detail that was probably built when the State took over the Municipal University of Akron.  Back then, all of the buildings were squashed between Buchtel Ave. and Carroll Street.  Now that campus has expanded, the emphasis is on creating green space.  Nothing will replace Carroll, I believe an "Outdoor Livingroom" will be going there.  I sure wish I had pics of campus when I was there so I could compare them to now.  See link for demolition pics:

 

http://zipsnation.org/forums//index.php?showtopic=9320&st=0

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I was on AkronNewsNow.com earlier.. and they had audio about this area... plus something about a 150 million dollar project to be announced at the University later this year.!.  Wonder what that could be...

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"The Odd Corner" came down today to make way for the Stadium.  :clap: Also Jillians in Downtown came down to make way for a new downtown student housing development.  I'll tell you what, I'm not gonna recognize that place the next time I'm there.  The construction in Akron is really picking up.  Can't wait to see what the new Goodyear complex is going to look like.

 

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=S8qkiLcJRFs&feature=related

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Tearing down Jillian's was an awful idea, symbolic of very bad planning practices.

 

Why tear down a building that was completely renovated when downtown is filled with vacant lots?

 

Not good.

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I disagree. Downtown Akron is not filled with vacant lots. The area across the Stadium will eventually be an arena. The options are limited, short of tearing down some other renovated structures. Although Jillian’s was a fine renovation, it was an unmemorable building. What is going in its place is a vast improvement, including filling in the other half of the block which is surface lot parking. This will bring new life to that section of downtown, and hopefully spawn other infill projects.

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Tearing down Jillian's was an awful idea, symbolic of very bad planning practices.

 

Why tear down a building that was completely renovated when downtown is filled with vacant lots?

 

Not good.

 

Because they struggled to fill the building in it's current state- no one wanted to take the space as large as it was. Although I'm somewhat sad to see it go, this new development will have street-level restaurants and shops, and a small-high rise of living space. Very urban.

 

And Zippo's right...there is a JAR replacement arena in the works for one of the very few spots of vacant land in downtown akron. Surfohio, when was the last time you've been to Downtown Akron?

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I was down there in Akron last night.

 

Listen, I'm not anti growth, but for smart growth. Just because it was hard finding a tennant for Jillians right now doesn't mean it's a bad building.

 

Akron has tons of gaping holes downtown that need filled.

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I don't mean gaping holes like empty craters, but gaping holes of inactivity. There is space right next to the Jillians complex toward Canal Place. It would be better to relocate the suburban looking Tire retail store than destroy a whole block of urban storefronts of a fully restored building.

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I don't mean gaping holes like empty craters, but gaping holes of inactivity. There is space right next to the Jillians complex toward Canal Place. It would be better to relocate the suburban looking Tire retail store than destroy a whole block of urban storefronts of a fully restored building.

 

When you talk about the empty space next to the former Jillian's, I'm trying to think- what's there now? Is it just an empty lot? I swore there was a building there of some sort-even a credit union.

 

I agree with you on that other one- the tire place does look very suburban...HOWEVER, it does do very good business and how exactly would you go about making them move from a prime spot to somewhere else to fit another need?

 

 

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All right, we can go back and forth all day about what the best use is for a certain lot near campus/downtown. Agree to disagree on this demolition I suppose.

 

My point is this, it wasn't like Jillian's was vacant for many years. Just recently that building's renovation was a vital building block for a more vibrant downtown. I've been there many times and the crowds were often spilling onto the streets from the busy sidewalk.

 

Next, like every other Jillians, the place closes. It's empty for what, less than a year, and all of a sudden it's a bad building? 

 

I am not convinced that the new student housing couldn't adapt to the pre existing surroundings. The "just tear it down" mentality has done such irreparable injustice to Akron, Canton, Cleveland....

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I believe Brubakers is set to be razed later this month also.  I have a little bit of mixed feelings about this block being torn down, but at least something worthwhile is being built in its place.  I guess I would be more upset if it was being razed for a parking lot or a walgreens, but from the renderings I have seen it looks as if there will be more storefronts than before, and also have three or four floors of apartments. 

 

Why on earth are they replacing the jar?  It was built in the mid 1980's and was renovated a few years ago.  It also sits right in the middle of campus.  I agree that a new football stadium was needed because it was in a terrible location and was in poor condition, but replacing the jar seems kind of wasteful to me.

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Why on earth are they replacing the jar?  It was built in the mid 1980's and was renovated a few years ago.  It also sits right in the middle of campus.  I agree that a new football stadium was needed because it was in a terrible location and was in poor condition, but replacing the jar seems kind of wasteful to me.

 

Because the JAR was never built to correct UA specifications. In fact the original size of the JAR was the same size as the Wolstein Center (I heard a story from a very reliable source that the blueprints for the Wolstein Center actually said "Akron University Arena"). The JAR can't be used for anything else but college basketball games- no concerts, ice-skating, WWE, arena football, nothing. The facility is just too small.

A new arena, I feel is still a LONG ways off. And from the sound of it, it wouldn't be an exclusive "UA Only" arena- it would probably be an sgreement akin to Heinz Field.  However, since Memorial Hall is to be repurposed/torn down, I would imagine that the JAR wouldn't be replaced, but repurposed.

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I'm torn over the JAR. The layout is horrible and was created without any kind of thought whatsoever. It is a glorified high school gym.

 

But the place is loud and the Zips win there. I would hate to see the Akron basketball team end up in a Cleveland State type situation playing in front of 8,000 empty seats in a big arena.

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The Mayor has been after a arena for awhile now.. and just recently UA signed an agreement with the city that when it builds a new arena to replace the JAR it will be built downtown... Maybe something similar to this ..

 

http://www.osborn-eng.com/sports_akron_arena.html

 

On that site there is also plans for a university soccer stadium.. Which wouldnt be too much of a stretch because UA is nationally ranked and would liked to stay that way.

 

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Akron certainly needs a new arena. JAR only seats 5,000 people. That's quite small for a D1 school with over 20,000 students. By comparison, Savage Hall at UT seats 9,000, and the Convo at OU seats over 13,000. If you can get over 10,000 people in an arena for concerts (which means about 8,000 or 9,000 seats for basketball), then you can attract a lot of big national tours. UT and OU both can do that with their arenas. 10,000 people is a a major cut-off point for the nation's big arena tours. It's great for your school to be able to attract this and it can make a lot of money.

 

Hopefully UA doesn't go the BG route and build a new arena that's no bigger/better than the old one. Though BG certainly gets a lot of credit for the name "Stroh Center" which will instantly become "Stroh's Center," a vital beer of college keg parties. Still, it sucks the Stroh's Center will only seat 5,000 people (basically no bigger than their old, gritty, but exciting Anderson Arena):

 

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080303/SPORTS03/803030369

 

 

 

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I'm torn over the JAR. The layout is horrible and was created without any kind of thought whatsoever. It is a glorified high school gym.

 

But the place is loud and the Zips win there. I would hate to see the Akron basketball team end up in a Cleveland State type situation playing in front of 8,000 empty seats in a big arena.

 

Small = intimate and exciting. There actually are some advantages in going the small route. Bowling Green has always felt that way and will replace the legendary Anderson Arena with a new arena the same small size (around 5,000 seats). Still, 5,000 seats is well below average for a D1 school with over 20,000 students. Some years, you might not even be able to fit in a whole freshmen class for orientation.

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