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Norfolk Scope Expansion to be Considered

Norfolk Scope might receive an expansion down the road, as the city’s mayor recently announced plans to consider options for the venue. 

During his State of the City address on Friday, Norfolk mayor Kenny Alexander revealed that the city plans to come to terms with Oak View Group to consider possibilities for an expansion. The Scope originally opened in 1971 and, though it has had some changes along the way, an expansion could amount to one of the largest renovations in its history.

For right now, officials believe that the most likely path to expanding the Scope is to lower the arena’s floor. This is not unlike a high-profile development that Oak View Group has pitched, as the firm revealed last month that its proposed renovation of Seattle’s KeyArena includes a plan to lower the venue’s floor. However, with the size, cost, and financing of a Scope expansion among the questions that must be answered, discussions in Norfolk still have some ways to go. More from The Virginian Pilot:

 The city is not paying Oak View Group, but could spend $100,000 to hire another firm to work with Oak View to study possible renovations, a city spokeswoman said. The city will seek bids to find that firm. Alexander said the $100,000 had already been budgeted for a similar study and that the city will have no obligation to do any renovations.

Council members said they want to see Scope improved but don’t want to spend much public money to do it.

Asked what she’d like to see happen to the arena, Vice Mayor Theresa Whibley said, “I’d like to see somebody pay for it for us. And that’s a possibility.”

Councilwoman Mamie Johnson called Scope’s architecture “one of the wonders of the world” and said she wants to see it preserved and the arena turned into a state-of-the-art facility. But she, too, said council members aren’t willing to make a huge investment.

Because of Scope’s 24 flying buttresses, the famous sloping supports that surround the arena and connect to its roof, the only feasible way to expand it is to dig down and possibly expand out, city officials said.

Norfolk is considering its options for the Scope during a busy period in Hampton Roads’ arena scene, as Virginia Beach agreed earlier this year to move forward with the development of a new venue. Norfolk Scope hosts many of the major indoor events that come to the city, and currently has a full-time hockey tenant in the form of the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals.