Two crews have been working around the clock to cram two years of work into the 7-month phase one renovation of Bojangles’ Coliseum, set to be completed by October 24. When it was built in 1955, the coliseum was the largest free-standing dome in the world. Today’s $16.5 million project is a complete floor to rafters overhaul of the the interior arena, including new seats, sound system, lighting, paint, concession stands and scoreboard. Phase two exterior work will kick off after the Charlotte Checkers, the coliseum’s anchor tenant, wrap up their season in April 2016.
After 10 years at Time Warner Cable Arena, the Checkers are eager to return home to the coliseum where the team played from 1956 to 2005. They’re also looking forward to upgraded bells and whistles and black and red branding while still preserving much of the original 1950s design elements.
Although 9,600 solid wooden chairs were replaced with 8,600 wider plastic ones, the original organ is still in place along with the original matrix scoreboard. They also polished and preserved the original brass row letters on the steps.
The concession stands will maintain a 1950s diner feel.
Here’s a look at the in-progress renovation…
Although the coliseum has to be ready for a graduation event on October 24, the Checkers’ opening night game isn’t until Saturday, November 7. They’ll be giving away old school viewfinders with retro photos of the coliseum to the first 3,000 fans. I want one.
Excited? (I don’t even like sports and I am for some reason.) If you’re not, watch the original #CheckersComeHome video announcing the team’s triumphant homecoming. It’s pretty powerful visual storytelling as well as some of the last shots of the coliseum before the renovations began.
“I’ve played here, I’ve coached here and I’ve watched the city change around it. I could never forget the memories that were made in this place. I’ve seen epic battles fought on this ice, a sport bred in the north and adopted by a city in the south.”