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It’s tight but Carolina First Center should be ready on time

At least that is what they are saying in Charleston these days,.
Summertime is very hot in Charleston, SC. But some of the biggest sweating being done around town these days has nothing to do with humidity.

If things stay the way they are, Carolina First Center should hit its scheduled completion date of November 10. That’s a good thing because the first game scheduled in the place is less than 100 hours later … on November 14.

The 5,000 seat facility is scheduled to replace John Kresse Arena, the longtime home of the College of Charleston basketball teams. The new arena will open with a bang — a three-day, eight team men’s tournament that will encompass 12 games.

"I would say things are on schedule," said Tim Heichelbech, project manager. "With a project this size, you’re going to have issues to overcome. So far, we’ve overcome them and maintained the schedule."

The 5,000-seat arena will feature 4,000 chair back seats with approximately 1,000 bench seats for students. Total game-day capacity, including standing-room only, will be 5,300.

Seating is on two levels, with 3,500 on the lower level and 1,500 on the upper level. There’s an open concourse that allows fans to see the game while they’re at the concession stands.

"The building was designed to create the same atmosphere that you would have in a gym," said project architect Ken Betsch. "It’s going to have a big arena feel in some ways, but the seating is pulled really tight, so it’s very intimate, and there’s not a bad seat in the house."

The project is expected to be completed at an approximate cost of $45 million.