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Arkansas spending $3 million on Walton Arena upgrades

Among the enhancements: Padded courtside seating, racetrack-style scoreboards, LED screens, and the installation of permanent seating.
The Unversity of Arkansas has scoped out $3 million in improvements to Bud Walton Arena, slated to be completed before the start of the 2008-2009 basketball season.

The most noticeable change for the majority of the fans is the installation of new signage in the form of ribbon boards and LED monitors throughout the arena. The addition of this signage will be let out to bid and should cost between $900,000 and $1.2 million.

The change that may raise the most revenue, however, is the initial offering of 34 Courtside Club seats, which will run along the south side of the court across from the team benches. The fully padded and cushioned seats feature an arm rest with a cup holder. The cost is $12,000 a year for the first five years, and a minimum of $8,000 a year beginning in year six. Donors to the Broyles-Matthews program will be given priority to purchasing ticket packages. The price includes the ticket to the seat and access to a Courtside Club room. The Courtside Club is an upscale hospitality area available to ticket holders during pre-game and halftime periods. These seats will be placed where press row currently is located.

The retractable seats in the student section will be replaced by permanent bleachers. University officials discovered the retractable seats didn’t retract so well, which cut down on the potential of using all three courts on the Walton Arena floor. So the decision was made to permanently remove the retractable seats, at a cost of $1.8 million.

Despite the changes, seating capacity at Walton Arena will remain at 19,200.