We are home – but the Magna Peregrinus is still in Eugene. The crew at Cummins Coach Care will replace the cracked part on the engine. Hopefully, in a few days we will head down and fetch her.
Anyhooo… I wanted to tell you about the very cool adventure we had yesterday afternoon – we toured through the under-construction basketball arena at the University of Oregon! As I wrote on Tuesday, the U is finally replacing their ancient Mac Court basketball/volleyball arena with a state-of-the-art sports arena. The Matt Knight Arena is located just behind the dormitory area on campus.
When complete, the Ducks will play basketball and volleyball here:
This is the photo I snapped on Tuesday, showing the right side of the building:
Associate Athletic Director, Jim Bartko, invited us to tour the construction site Saturday afternoon. We had to wear hard hats and non-fashion-friendly orange safety vests. Our tour group included the University President, the head football coach and famed Duck alum and NIKE co-founder, Phil Knight.
Our tour began 30-plus feet below street level – which is the level of the court! When fans enter on the street level, they will either walk up or down to reach their seats. The court level houses the team locker rooms, visitor locker rooms, player lounges, training rooms, fitness center, private suites (called bunkers as they have no windows!), offices for the coaching staff, and other associated facilities.
Compared to Mac Court, where 8000 fans are crammed into teeny seats and wooden bleachers with no leg room, no hand-rails, two teeny bathrooms and views obstructed by columns, Matt Court will seat nearly 13,000 fans in wide seats (not bleachers) with cup holders! Not to mention, tons of leg room, elevators, 3:1 women-to-men bathrooms, a huge HD score board, 15 concession stands and two Duck Fan Shops. The student cheering section – the “Pit Crew” – will have their seating capacity doubled. Adjacent to the new arena is a practice facility with a full-time volleyball court and a full-time basketball court.
NBA teams will be envious of this athlete-friendly facility.
Rare shot of Duck fans wearing orange
After touring through the court-level, we rode a construction elevator (I kid you not) to the top level.
Not my favorite portion of the tour.
DT and Mary seemed to be enjoying the ride.
Here is a view of the arena from the top-level concourse. Notice the concourse is surrounded by windows that will let in natural light.
Back down on street level, we were shown the main entrance area and the main level concourse:
The main entrance faces towards the dormitories… which I must say are older than dirt (the dorms were dismal when DT lived there in the 1970s) and now seem especially down-trodden next to this shiny new architectural masterpiece.
Main level concourse
We will return to the University at the end of the month to select our seats in the new arena!
Until my next update, I remain, your concrete correspondent.