While it was a week to remember for Wake Forest, another discovery was made by a poster on OGBoards, and it appears to be plans from Heery International to renovate the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Wake bought the LJVM in May of 2013, and it was pretty obvious that they would eventually re-do the Joel to fit the needs of the school.
I am not sure how long these plans have been up on the website, but it lists 2016 as the copyright statement at the bottom of the page, so it has likely been from within the past year.
Right now the Coliseum seats 14,665, which is great for big concerts that may be coming to Winston-Salem, but not exactly ideal for one of the smallest Power 5 schools in the country. Even in the past when Wake Forest has been good they have had a difficult job filling all the seats and keeping opposing fans out.
If the renovation plans are anywhere close to accurate, then this may be an issue of the past.
A link to the slides can be found here .*The biggest thing that sticks out to me is the projected capacity of around 9K-11K, which is a much better size for our fan base.
There is a lot of fluff in the wording for the project, but the initial slides look very promising and I think will bring a much better basketball experience for the fans and the student-athletes themselves.
Another thing that sticks out to me is the video boards in the corner. This will presumably bring down the oversized scoreboard in the middle and produce better sight lines for everybody in the arena. From the picture, the model looks similar to the boards in the corners at the Robins Center in Richmond, Virginia.
It also looks like the students will be moved to center court to create a better sideline atmosphere. This is fairly enticing to the students, and a lot of ACC schools that have renovated recently have made this move (Clemson and Georgia Tech in the past 2-3 years). If Wake Forest can start winning consistently again then this will be a pretty big advantage once students start coming back to games.
In addition to lowering the capacity, I would assume there will be more club level seating. That is how most renovations have trended recently, as attending games has become more of a social event that is not necessarily “tunnel vision” for just watching the game.
To compete with staying home and watching all the games on television there needs to be an alternative that is appealing for the entire family and/or business. This is a step in the right direction to capture more business groups and families on any given weeknight.
The length of the project is not stated on the website, but I would guess this is a 9-12 month project, which would likely cause Wake Forest to play in Greensboro for a year while the LJVM is renovated. This is a pretty big inconvenience in a vacuum, but likely a great payoff in the long run for a new-feel basketball arena that fits the needs of Wake Forest better.
As more details come out we will keep you updated, but this seems to be a big step towards a renovated LJVM, and one that is much needed.
*It appears that since we published this morning the link has been removed. I have added the artist’s rendition of the Joel to the article for ease.