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University of Cincinnati Moving Forward With Fifth Third Arena Renovation

This is obviously huge news for the program in more ways than one. Not only will it completely revamp Fifth Third Arena and make it a much more enjoyable place to watch a game. But it also removes the one thing that could possibly prevent Mick Cronin from staying here in the long term.

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The text of the request for qualifications can be seen by following this link. This is very early days in this process. The short form schedule is that firms interested in doing the project will get a chance to tour the site, probably sometime in November. On December 4th all firms with an interest in doing the project must submit their response. UC will then take a subset of those submitting and set up interviews with those they like. Only after then will a design become public. That is all strictly from a design perspective, the firm that designs the winning proposal might not get to build it. After that UC has the option to either stick with the winning architect, or they can make the decision to go with another firm for the construction*. Some bullet points from the request for qualifications

*That is exactly what UC did with Nippert, and why the initial designs are only tangentially related to what is being built.

  • All told the project will cost in the neighborhood of 70 million dollars, that is the estimate that Cincinnati is using.
  • Contrary to many earlier suggestions the court will not be reorientated. It will run in more or less the same place it always has.
  • UC is giving the designers a blank slate in terms of what they can do, the only thing that will remain are the structurally integral components, the four walls and the roof essentially. I wouldn't anticipate the configuration of seating to be even remotely similar.
  • The project will take about 20 months start to finish, meaning that UC will vacate the premises for one complete season. Presumably US Bank Arena becomes the temporary home, whenever that might be.
  • According to the tentative schedule produced with the document the new Fifth Third Arena would open in time for the fall of 2018. Tentative is the operative word there.