Well if you had any doubt before, it's slowly being removed. A renovation and redesign is coming to Fifth Third Arena. According to the Cincinnati Business Courier, the University of Cincinnati has hired an architecture firm to explore options for the Bearcats' dated multi-purpose facility that serves as the home court for men's and women's basketball along with women's volleyball.
And, yes, technically this doesn't mean construction crews will hit the floor any time soon (although they could just slide over from Nippert Stadium once that's done, am I right?), but the university wouldn't hire an architecture firm if they thought the project didn't have enough steam. I do have to enter the obvious caveat here, though: the Board of Trustees must approve the plan before ground is broken - and it sounds like that's likely to happen towards the end of this summer.
Not too long ago, you read that UC was requesting bids for a $70 million renovation to the arena. Well, according to the Business Courier article, the university is putting current estimates at $50 million. And, like every construction project I've ever heard of (okay, it's not many, but still...) it's bound to run north of whatever the initially released projection is.
So where will the Bearcats play while Fifth Third Arena is under construction? Could be across the river at NKU, could be US Bank Arena downtown, heck it could be the Cintas Center on Xavier's campus. Although I have to imagine university officials are only throwing that last name out in order to help bargain for the best deal possible at the other locations. Surely, they wouldn't play a home game at XU, right?
Nonetheless, this is continued great news for the basketball program, the athletic department, and the university as a whole. A new football stadium, a new basketball arena, maybe a new conference... (fingers crossed)