Marriott Center construction is expected to be completed in time for thousands of fans to cheer on the basketball team in October — in fact, it should be done in time to celebrate the August graduates next month.
The renovations, which began May 1, had three components: the change of the student section, the new sound system and the locker rooms and players’ benches.
The biggest change a future fan might notice in the Marriott center would be the relocation of the student section — replaced by blue, padded chairs.
Tom Holmoe held a live chat with fans when the renovations were announced to answer questions and concerns any fans might have.
“I respect the students greatly. We have the greatest student section in the country,” Holmoe said. “That being said, the Marriott Center needed upgrades in that section, and tough decisions had to be made that would take into account all constituents.”
Many students feel this move will take away from their enjoyment at basketball games.
“I think the move ruins the atmosphere of the arena,” Andrew Harding, a senior studying economics said. “It takes away what used to be one of the hardest arenas in the country to play in.”
Because of the new seating arrangement, the number of seats will drop from 22,700 to about 20,900 seats. Even with less seats available, the price of tickets will be fairly similar. For 75 percent of the tickets, the prices will be the same, or less, than last year.
To help fans understand what is going on, BYU has created a website to allow them to see what changes are taking place. As of June, they have partnered with Ballena Technologies to create a 3-D version of the Marriott Center where fans can see the court from every seat and purchase tickets that are available.
The changes at the Marriott Center were long overdue, but fans seem to feel these changes will take away from the arena’s uniqueness.
“One of the unique things about great college basketball arenas is making the students the most important fans,” Chandler Parkinson, a junior studying business said. “By putting us solely behind the baskets, I feel like it takes away a great element of the difficulty that is playing in Provo.”
The Marriott Center was originally designed to only hold devotionals and forums for the BYU. The changes being made are to better serve the recently expanded needs of the building.