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Fifth Third Arena Renovations Approved by University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees

The $87-million, privately funded renovation of Fifth Third Arena has been approved by the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth Third Arena, the home of Cincinnati's men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams, is finally getting a renovation after the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees approved the $87-million, privately funded renovation of the arena Tuesday.

"It's a transformational day for UC Athletics and the University," Director of Athletics Mike Bohn said. "We are inspired by the passionate engagement from the Board of Trustees, campus leadership and key constituents who are making a bold commitment to our athletic program and the campus community.

"The cost of the project has grown due to complexities associated with renovating a 26-year-old building in line with our plan to construct a state-of-the-art arena that will be among the finest on-campus facilities in the nation."

The renovation will include a number of different improvements to the 26-year-old facility that was built in 1989. According to, the improvements will include:

  • Creation of 360-degree seating bowl
  • New HD scoreboard
  • New Ribbon boards
  • New Sound system
  • LED lighting system to enhance gameday presentation
  • New restroom and concession facilities
  • New upper-level concourse with fan amenities, expanded food and beverage options
  • New main entrance and plaza with centralized ticketing and guest services
  • Upgraded locker room spaces
  • Expanded premium seating options, including a courtside club, arena club and concourse club
  • Enclosed suites
  • Loge seating
  • New Bearcats lounge
  • Super suites
Only months ago, the expectation was that Cincinnati would be able to begin renovations as soon as next year, forcing the basketball and volleyball teams to play elsewhere for the 2016-17 season. That turnaround has now been found to be quite ambitious, specifically from the financial side of things. The approved plan from Tuesday puts the start of construction in April 2017, to be completed in the fall of 2018. Certainly we'd all like to see the Bearcats playing in their flashy new digs sooner rather than later, but it doesn't hurt to take your time and make sure you get it right.

As for the Bearcats, this is great news. Not only did the facility need a facelift for spectators and visitors, but a new, state-of-the-art facility is always a huge part of recruiting and something Mick Cronin can certainly utilize. Not to mention, new facilities certainly don't hurt when you're looking for an invite to a Power-5 Conference.

"Our entire University has grown and transformed into one of the best in the country over the past 15 years, both academically and aesthetically," Men's Basketball Head Coach Mick Cronin said. "This arena will be awesome. The planning has been meticulous and the first-class, new design is as good as I've seen across all of college basketball. This building is about our future and is a testament to the commitment our University and donors have toward our programs. Today is a great day if you love Bearcats Basketball."