Note: This article is simply a list of ideas for further improvements, and none of these have been put forth by Wake Forest or the coliseum. It is also not intended in any way to criticize anything the coliseum has or has not done thus far.
This article is similar to one written on the site in 2017 by Ned Harwood, but includes more immediate ideas.
Since Wake Forest purchased the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum from the city of Winston-Salem in 2013 there have been many upgrades made to the building. These include, but are not limited to: a new state-of-the-art sound system installed in 2013, Wake Forest themed logos and branding being added on the concourse and within the lower bowl in 2013 and 2014, a new LED lighting system for the court installed in 2015, a new scoreboard and LED ribbon boards between the upper and lower decks as well as LED boards for stats and scores in the four corners of the arenas installed in 2017, a new scorer’s table with LED boards for advertisements installed in 2017, and a new basketball court installed in 2018.
Without further ado, here are some ideas for further improvements:
1) The installation of a public WiFi network and/or a booster for cell reception
Anyone who has attended a big game at The Joel knows that when more than 5,000 people show up for a game it becomes nearly impossible to send a message, check social media, or anything else that one might want to do in this day and age. If a public WiFi network isn't feasible (which it should be for a large school like Wake), consider adding a booster for cell reception. Wake Forest advertises NorthState Communications every game-maybe they could cut a deal with them.
2) More local flavors as concession options
As Ned pointed out, Prissy Polly’s was added a couple of years ago, and since then Foothills and Mayberry’s have also been added. But we could still use some more local flavors. Who doesn't want a Krispy Kreme donut?
3) Replacing the old green seats in the upper deck
This is down the list and will come in time I’m sure, but the green seats in the upper deck are original to the coliseum from when it opened in 1989, which means they will be 30 years old next season. Maybe we could look into going with something like the cushioned seats that the Greensboro Coliseum introduced a few years ago, and this would also be the perfect opportunity to reduce capacity somewhat if that is something that is in the works.
4) Better lighting on the concourse
The concourse still has what look like the original light fixtures from the late 1980s as well. It would be nice to replace them with new LED lights and provide more brightness as people go to get concessions. The glass doors help during the day, but during night game the concourse can seem rather dim, especially by today’s standards.
5) More areas for wheelchair seating
Being a 30 year old arena, I’m sure this wasn't quite as much of an issue at the time it was being built, but there should be a large designated area for wheelchairs, and not just a small space with room for two or three wheelchairs every few sections. This would have to be done as part of a larger renovation, but it definitely needs to be considered.
6) A section on the history of Wake Forest basketball
Somewhere in a prominent place there needs to be section on the history of Wake Forest basketball with past trophies, team photos, etc. Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum and NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum both have large sections on the team history, and Wake is missing this. The history of past teams is hidden somewhere on campus where the public never has the opportunity to see it. Having this memorabilia in the Joel would help to build a sense of tradition and pride among fans.
What further improvements would you all like to see to the coliseum? Comment below.