UNM coach wants to convert unused arena suites into offices
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — University of New Mexico men’s basketball coach Paul Weir has ideas beyond the basketball court.
Weir proposed to a regents committee this week to convert some of the unused suites in Dreamstyle Arena, or affectionately known as the “Pit,” into offices and other usable space for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the Albuquerque Journal reported .
Weir said he is trying to get a green light to go forward with spending $150,000 of capital outlay money the program already has for facility upgrades as a start to a bigger project that would include him asking donors to fund a large portion of an estimated $2 million conversion — a project that could be done in small parts over years as money becomes available.
Weir said it is to get better use out of an area that is underutilized as suites largely go unsold.
“The Pit is terrific,” Weir said. “It has a lot of open, creative spaces with a lot of opportunity that quite frankly just sits there year-round. . There’s a lot of potential at the Pit to really redesign our space.”
The suites, which were added to the arena in 2009, as part of the $60 million renovation. They have averaged just about 20 sold suites per season (out of 40), according to University of New Mexico Director of Athletics Eddie Nunez.
It’s not known how much of the 15,411 capacity of the Pit would decrease in the proposal.
Projects under $300,000 do not require regent involvement.
Weir said he’d like to spend part of the program’s $150,000 to “glass off” the 16 suites on the south side of the Pit, only three of which were paid for last season by private donors. Three more were used either by UNM or by licensing partner Learfield Sports and can be moved.
Nothing has yet been decided on the project.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com