When the first images of some mock ups of the Mini Dome were out, it was a shot of energy equaled only by giving an eight year old a Red Bull and free puppy. Pictures, renderings and rumors are swirling everywhere about potential renovations to the dome.
From the messageboard etsufans.com to social media outlets, folks are talking about raving about having the much needed basketball type atmosphere. But what are some of the renovations? After casual discussions with a couple of different folks in and around ETSU, I was told everything we’ve seen so far is very preliminary, but to expect something similar to what we’ve seen. First, and one of the crown jewel pieces to the puzzle will be the installation of LED boards all around the seats in the dome. These are the types of boards you see at games that can keep the score, flash scoring updates from other games, show advertising and special messages, etc… Other items include a new, bigger floor bleacher that will allow for more seating floor level, which as of this point will not interfere with any current fire code issues.
Also included will be a lighting grid that can be raised and lowered. One of the questions swirling around the lighting was whether or not the roof could withstand the weight along with the center hung scoreboard, to which I’ve learned that the research is being done to ensure that it will.
Next up is a new club room, which numbers are being kicked around but will be located on the east side of the dome where some out of use dance studios are.
Several have posed the question why? Why not build? Truthfully a basketball arena isn’t going to be built overnight, on a larger level even the University of Kentucky is just starting the pre planning and slient fundraising phase of the new Rupp Arena which won’t open for another 20-25 years. When it was realized that an arena would take time, new ETSU president Dr. Brian Noland has taken the reigns on renovating the dome, turning it into a basketball friendly facility. One that will include new fan amenities, and upgraded amenities for the basketball team which will help in recruiting players, and fans alike.