Thursday, August 20 2009
www.news25.us/Global/story.aspEVANSVILLE - Seven to eight stories high, nearly 95 feet tall lined with glass walls and a facade that could include Indiana limestone - that is the vision for the proposed downtown arena that could enhance Evansville's skyline.
Architects unveiled the arena's interior and exterior plans Wednesday evening. The design includes the main entrance plaza near 6th and Main Street, not near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard where some committee members and city leaders hoped.
"There are pros and cons either way. Is it more important to open it up toward Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard or does it make more sense to open it up to 6th and Main, where you could actually block off that entire area for some type of outdoor event if you wanted," says Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.
The futuristic design would welcome visitors with floor to ceiling windows facing Main Street. "It makes a better city plaza and it also helps revitalize some of the Main Street district and put some of the focus back towards Main Street where we think it should be," says Jim Swords, one of the architects with the architectural firm, Populous.
Representatives hired by the city presented the drawings at a public meeting held at The Centre. The arena would be nearly 278,000 square feet and could hold over 11,000 seats in a horseshoe form. "I think it will fit in fine. It's the same size as all the other buildings," says Wayne Henning, Arena Project Committee.
There would be an estimated 6,000 seats in the lower section and 3,000 in the upper section. Nearly 1,000 seats would be in suites and other reserved areas. Additional seats could be added on the floor for concerts and other events. The floor of the arena will be ground level for easy access.
Most of the interior would be made of steel and concrete, with glass as accent walls. Plans call for two staircases and escalators or an elevator for the disabled.
Architects say the arena will shine at night and illuminate downtown. Materials are expected to be environmentally friendly; architects say they'll even try to re-use rainwater that hits the large roof.
Mayor Weinzapfel says the meeting will give architects a chance to re-visit the plans for future improvements.