With Minnesota Lynx playoff games on the way, Williams Arena is undergoing some changes.
For their playoff games later this month, the Lynx will call Williams Arena home. The University of Minnesota venue, which opened in 1928, needed to undergo a few changes to accommodate the Lynx over the coming weeks. Some of those adjustments included putting Lynx branding in various places around the arena, but air conditioning proved to be a pressing need.
The Lynx selected Aggreko to come up with a solution to cool the arena, and maintain a temperature between 61 and 71 degrees for all playoff games. It took careful consideration to formulate the plan, which ultimately resulted in a plant being constructed outside of the arena. More from The Star Tribune:
Problems: Converting the heating system into a cooling system. Adjusting the existing ductwork to make sure Williams is cooled but the adjoining Sports Pavilion isn’t. Making sure that whatever system was installed could handle the body heat of thousands of fans and that all the cool air that escapes doesn’t affect arena temps.
The answer: an enormous system of chillers, fans and pumps.
“It sort of reminds me of the movie ‘ET’, ” [Lynx president Chris] Wright said. “We’re building this massive plant on the outside of the building that will force cold air through the air-handling system, through the ceiling, through the louvers on the outside of the building.”
It isn’t cheap. Should the Lynx play the maximum six home games in the semifinals and finals, it will cost upward of $1 million.
The Lynx’s first playoff game at Williams Arena is set for September 12. The venue is filling in for St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, which served as their temporary venue during the regular season while renovations to The Target Center took place.