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I had the opportunity to speak with the two main planners in FSU's Facilities Department - Larry Rubin (Director) and Mark Bertolami (Director for Planning & Space Management). We spoke extensively about some major proposals going forward involving the Civic Center and to a lesser extent Doak Campbell Stadium. 

Doak Campbell Stadium - The major proposal going forward is a Club Seat Section that Warchant.com first reported on last year. The Club Seats, if approved, will be located in the south end zone above the Marching Chiefs. It would be an extension of the University Center Club. As such, this section would include quick access to air conditioned areas, some shading, TVs, adult beverages, much easier access to bathrooms, etc.


According to Rubin and Bertolami there are still some coding issues that need to be straightened out. But they deferred most of the issues surrounding the Club Seat Section to the Seminole Boosters since this was primarily their project. The last time we checked with the Boosters they were hoping to pre-sell the tickets so they would have enough of a financial buffer in pace before going forward with the project. Sounds like 2014 is a possibility but we plan to speak to Booster President & CEO Andy Miller regarding specifics including the timing of the project if approved.

Other minor changes that should come for Doak include overhauling the bathrooms and concession areas. Re-painting the interior is also a major project on the docket.

Civic Center - The most significant proposals that will be presented to FSU president Eric Barron and the Board involve massive changes to the Civic Center.
 
As most of you are aware, Florida State purchased the Civic Center last year from the City of Tallahassee. In speaking to Rubin and Bertolami the management of the facility has been a major undertaking. Running a multipurpose facility that hosts concerts and tractor pulls is something that nobody at FSU is trained to do. As such, it has been a difficult process figuring out how to run and manage the new purchase. 

While getting the facility up and running smoothly is a major challenge there's no debate that the Civic Center is extremely antiquated and in desperate need of some upgrades. With that in mind, FSU hired an outside firm called Populous to evaluate the Civic Center, make recommendations, come up with different proposals, design plans and so on. This the same company that did Yankee Stadium, Heniz Field, Texas A&M and the overhaul of USF's Sun Dome. There is a huge proposal being put together by FSU Facilities that will have all of this information complete with drawings, costs, recommendations and so on. At last check it wasn't finalized yet. We plan to wait until it is finalized before requesting the records.

They made a point of telling me that the $100 million figure being reported for the Civic Center remodeling is misleading. That figure represents the cost if FSU adopted every single proposal submitted by Populous, which was never a possibility. Instead, there's a huge laundry list of possibilities that will be submitted that the FSU president and Board will select from.

Here's a rundown of the major proposals and recommendations for the Civic Center that will be reviewed by FSU
  • $10 million is needed to take care maintenance issues and basic upgrades that must be resolved in the near future. This includes new seats, updated sound system, scoreboard, improving acoustics (for when the Civic Center hosts concerts), paving the parking lot and complying with ADA requirements. It was noted that the facility is structurally sound.
  • Changing the entrance to give it the look and feel of a Florida State sports complex and not a generic multipurpose Civic Center. As  you can see in the photo above there is nothing special about the entrance and overhauling the look was a major recommendation made by Populous. One drawing I saw showed a huge walkway leading up from the parking lot with a dramatic entrance that had a modern plaza area in front of the arena that would let everybody know it was an FSU complex. 
  • Massive change to parking lot. There were several different proposals all with varying costs. The extreme was eliminating the current parking lot and relying on nearby parking garages - one hope is that the city will build another garage across from the civic center on land it owns, and possibly fix up the current state garages that are also nearby. If that were to happen it would open up the possibility of building a hotel on the property and even potentially moving the FSU School of Hospitality there. Whether or not that happens, a lot or all of the current parking lot would be eliminated and turned into a much more appealing grassy area. This is all be part of the larger goal of changing the look and feel of the facility.
  • For inside the actual Civic Center there are a few significant proposals being considered. One is raising up the seats behind the baskets where the students currently sit so they are much closer to the court. This is typical of what you see at most college basketball arenas. Another is to take out some of the luxury boxes (a good percentage go unsold and take up space) and turn them into what is effectively a club seat section. It would cost a lot less to sit in this section and could be purchased on a game-by-game basis. For instance, if somebody had a birthday party and needed 20 seats for a game that could be easily done instead of having the ultra expensive and long-term obligations associated with the luxury boxes. The final major recommendation put forth is changing the concourses such that the bathrooms and concessions, which are currently on the inside of the concourse around the seating for the court, to the outside of the concourse. If that change took place, you would actually see the court and seats as soon as you walked in. Now when you enter the Civic Center your view of the court an seats are effectively blocked since it walled off because of concessions and bathrooms.
  • Expansion of the Practice Facility. There are several different variations to how this can be done with the cost ranging from $10-$25 million. The major concern here is the men's and women's team having to share the same court.  There are frequent conflicts and this creates a lot of scheduling issues for both teams. As such, the main objective here is to have two areas - one designed for the men's team and the other for the women.   One interesting possibility is to expand the facility such that it can also be used to accommodate the volleyball team. That would effectively free up Tully Gym (Volleyball is the last FSU sport that uses that facility) for other uses. Of course this option would get the cost closer to the $25 million figure.

Of course most of this will come down to money. These are tough financial times so don't expect all or even most of these recommendations to be adopted, at least not in the short term. What the city does will also have some impact, such as building a new parking garage across from the Civic Center.

We will have more on this in the coming weeks as the report gets finalized and it is reviewed by the president and board.

This post was edited on 6/1 2:53 PM by Dot Com


This post was edited on 6/1 2:56 PM by Dot Com

6/1 2:51 PM | IP: Logged
All of this sounds amazing, but I realize only about 50% , if not less, of this will be signed off on. We had to wait a long time to raise money for the IPF, and that was for football, and potentially much less expensive.

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/1 3:38 PM | IP: Logged
Will FSU hire somebody with the knowledge or background to run the Center properly?

What kind of revenues can the Center generate through concerts, tractor pulls, etc...?
6/1 4:06 PM | IP: Logged
When you say raising the seats so that students are closer to the floor, do you mean putting the seats behind the basket at a steeper incline? Kind of like what Maryland has behind the baskets in their arena?
6/1 4:14 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by bigblack07:
When you say raising the seats so that students are closer to the floor, do you mean putting the seats behind the basket at a steeper incline? Kind of like what Maryland has behind the baskets in their arena?
That's what it sounds like they are doing. Hopefully we'll have some renderings of the seats and other changes proposed to show in the near future.
6/1 4:30 PM | IP: Logged
Spirit SPEAR!!!! ;;;--------;;> bring it back!

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/1 4:47 PM | IP: Logged
With those high price club seats going one section next to the visitor section do you think they will move the visitor section slightly.

I don't think people what to pay top dollar to look over and deal with Canes and Gate fans one row over on both sides.

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/1 4:48 PM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by Dot Com:


Originally posted by bigblack07:
When you say raising the seats so that students are closer to the floor, do you mean putting the seats behind the basket at a steeper incline? Kind of like what Maryland has behind the baskets in their arena?
That's what it sounds like they are doing. Hopefully we'll have some renderings of the seats and other changes proposed to show in the near future.

Awesome. That would be great for crowd noise too.
6/1 4:57 PM | IP: Logged

Great news!  I think the 1st and 4th bullet for the Civic Center are the highest priority of all.  I hope much more attention is but on the Tuck than Doak for now. 
6/1 5:42 PM | IP: Logged

Maybe now people will see that FSU does have a plan for these upgrades but it does come down to financing.
6/1 5:48 PM | IP: Logged
Dot, thanks for the indepth updates on this topic. Your insights are great keeping all of us up to date. Thanks. Go Noles!!!!!
6/1 6:34 PM | IP: Logged
Agree with post above. Bullets 1 and 4 are crucial. Entrance change would be ok, but not if it is done before the inside changes. Could care less about the parking lot. The club level seating could perhaps pay for it's part the bond going forward.

Dot or anyone,how is shade going to be provided in the Doak club level plans?
6/1 6:46 PM | IP: Logged
Will the proposed club seats increase or decrease the overall capacity?  Or is this simply a reallocation of seats?

TIA
6/1 7:39 PM | IP: Logged
Should reduce by 1000-1500 which isn't that bad we don't sell out as it is now. Maybe having fewer seats would drive up demand to get your tickets early

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/1 8:26 PM | IP: Logged

With FSU purchasing the civic center, is it now considered part of campus?  Does the purchase affect whether booze can be sold during bball games?
6/1 8:56 PM | IP: Logged

I know from living in Tally that the City and County Commission both feel like they dumped a "White Elephant" on FSU when they sold the TLCCC to them last year...they were tired of  writing checks to make up for the annual operating deficits...nothing in Dot's Report makes me have a lot of positive vibes on a place that quite frankly is well over a decade past its Expiration Date...half ass repairs seem like a waste of cash on this dump to me but frankly I don't have the solution cause I know we cant afford to build a whole new arena
6/1 9:44 PM | IP: Logged

"For inside the actual Civic Center there are a few significant proposals being considered. One is raising up the seats behind the baskets where the students currently sit so they are much closer to the court. This is typical of what you see at most college basketball arenas."




Hands down the most important of all renovations IMHO. 

This and simple Garnet seats.
6/1 9:48 PM | IP: Logged



Originally posted by NoleNewsIsGoodNews:

I know from living in Tally that the City and County Commission both feel like they dumped a "White Elephant" on FSU when they sold the TLCCC to them last year...they were tired of  writing checks to make up for the annual operating deficits...nothing in Dot's Report makes me have a lot of positive vibes on a place that quite frankly is well over a decade past its Expiration Date...half ass repairs seem like a waste of cash on this dump to me but frankly I don't have the solution cause I know we cant afford to build a whole new arena



And if FSU makes it nice (not sure FSU can afford to make it nice....but I know they will try), the same folks will begin to act like it is theirs.  Kind of an annoying thing honestly.


I get your overall point....tough to disagree...I am not sure how I feel.  I wish FSU did a capital campaign and try to do it right or not bother at all.  I think the biggest waste of all will be some middle ground deal where FSU spends $40 Milllion and still has the worst facility (or bottom 3) in the ACC.

If we are going to be at the bottom....just paint the walls and leave it.


I do have confidence in Dr. Barron here and hope he can work a miracle.  My biggest hope is Marriott building a hotel there with a huge Dept. of Hospitality/College of Business tie in that gives FSU a hotel that is an 'FSU hotel' (Garnet & Gold everywhere, etc), with big student benefits AND a huge donation to help to the civic center renovation (say $25 Million).  Hey, we can dream.
6/1 9:54 PM | IP: Logged
That club level is going to be top notch.  It will be like being in an elite country club while you're at a football game.  I won't say what it's going to be called, because that will anger many people on the TC.  
6/1 10:18 PM | IP: Logged

^^^^Sawyer....its tough but if I was FSU the first thing I would do is hire SMG to run the arena since that's their business and FSU has already admitted they have no clue how to run an arena...than SMG with their contacts  can keep the place busy with a lot of "mid-level" type bookings...they would also be very helpful in advising FSU on what type improvements might be beneficial in the long term in a market like Tally...but the real bottom line story is FSU is gonna have to raise a boatload of cash or hope like hell the mystery 600M Powerball Winner from Zephyrhills is an FSU Alum
6/1 10:19 PM | IP: Logged
The hotel idea is huge -- it would be great for the hospitality and business schools and also be revenue producer.  The civic center/hotel would ideally be revenue producing venues that would offset the cost of the projects, as opposed to the IPF and even Doak, due to the limited football dates.
6/1 10:49 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by moz9:
That club level is going to be top notch.  It will be like being in an elite country club while you're at a football game.  I won't say what it's going to be called, because that will anger many people on the TC.  
     What is it going to be called????  The We Can't See Crap From This End Zone Area?? We only have so much room to create, but who wants to sit in that area with that view?  There is a reason the fifty area is a high priority.
6/1 11:16 PM | IP: Logged



Originally posted by h8uf:





Originally posted by moz9:
That club level is going to be top notch.  It will be like being in an elite country club while you're at a football game.  I won't say what it's going to be called, because that will anger many people on the TC.  


     What is it going to be called????  The We Can't See Crap From This End Zone Area?? We only have so much room to create, but who wants to sit in that area with that view?  There is a reason the fifty area is a high priority.






Actually UF has something similar and it is always full and makes a ton of money for UF.  They aren't the only school with this.

If other schools do it and make good money from it......what is different at FSU that makes you think it can't/won't work there?
6/1 11:22 PM | IP: Logged

Bulldoze it, raise the needed money and build a new one.
6/2 12:51 AM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by Calif_Nole

Bulldoze it, raise the needed money and build a new one.

yep and better hurry before it becomes a historic site . Im quite sure the school of hospitality is going to move thier , a motel mainly facing FSU/Doak and the State Capital complex and maybe FAMU , with a parking deck . This can be done, just takes vision and will . To me it is a no brainer .

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/2 5:09 AM | IP: Logged



Originally posted by miawisenole:
The hotel idea is huge -- it would be great for the hospitality and business schools and also be revenue producer.  The civic center/hotel would ideally be revenue producing venues that would offset the cost of the projects, as opposed to the IPF and even Doak, due to the limited football dates.



I just attended an alumni event in Atalnta where Dr. Baron spoke about this topic.  He said they are in negotiations with three major hotel chains to integrate a hotel into the civic center complex and the school of hospitatlity being involved is part of the deal. 
Also putting the new College of Business across from the civic center is very much in play.  I'm not too hung up on it being an old building.  If they do the right things it will look and feel new.  They didn't do too bad with Doak Campbell stadium. so I have confidence that this will get done the right way.  He also said that he is in discussions with the city about making the street form the civic center to College Town a pedestrian mall.  I didn't get the impression that this was anywhere near a done deal, but this also could be really nice.
6/2 7:11 AM | IP: Logged



Originally posted by garnett76:






Originally posted by miawisenole:
The hotel idea is huge -- it would be great for the hospitality and business schools and also be revenue producer.  The civic center/hotel would ideally be revenue producing venues that would offset the cost of the projects, as opposed to the IPF and even Doak, due to the limited football dates.





I just attended an alumni event in Atalnta where Dr. Baron spoke about this topic.  He said they are in negotiations with three major hotel chains to integrate a hotel into the civic center complex and the school of hospitatlity being involved is part of the deal. 
Also putting the new College of Business across from the civic center is very much in play.  I'm not too hung up on it being an old building.  If they do the right things it will look and feel new.  They didn't do too bad with Doak Campbell stadium. so I have confidence that this will get done the right way.  He also said that he is in discussions with the city about making the street form the civic center to College Town a pedestrian mall.  I didn't get the impression that this was anywhere near a done deal, but this also could be really nice.



I knew the motel/School of Hospitality was going to happen--it just didn't make sence for it not to happen. Making the street from the civic center to College Town to pedestrian is a great idea. Imagin having 2 large warrior Seminole statues, one male and one female, holding basketballs looking upward in the front entrance outside of the civic center.   
6/2 7:56 AM | IP: Logged
I hope Doak gets its bathroom upgrades before anything else. The club seating option will be nice as well. The Civic Center parking makeover doesn't seem needed to me. It is nice to go to a concert there and be able to park right outside the door and tailgate. I understand the seating upgrades and sound system upgrades but I don't see how spending a ton of money on the entrance will make more people go to concerts or games. I could care less what it looks like when I walk in. I could see the benefit of having a hotel and other commercial use in the parking area but creating a grass area seems like a waste. And I really don't understand a need to expand the practice facility that we just built a few years ago.

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/2 8:47 AM | IP: Logged
I'm not too sure about the idea of getting rid of the parking lot so we can have a more scenic grass area.  We already use the parking garages near the Civic Center.  This sounds like an extraordinarily bad idea.

I'd really rather them worry about the inside of the facility.  People aren't skipping the games because they think there should be grass where the parking lot is.
6/2 8:48 AM | IP: Logged
Great info and update Dot.
6/2 9:02 AM | IP: Logged
Reduction of seating capacity with seating closer to the court like Duke would be a great change. What good does it do to have 12K seating capacity when you have only 1 or 2 games a year where it comes close to capacity. Would rather it seat 9K like Cameron and bring everyone closer to the court. Leon and surrounding counties don't have the population to justify a big arena for concerts. If a concert/event needs more capacity, move it to Doak for crying out loud. Let's create a tough atmosphere for opponents to play in Tally. When I grew up in Tallahassee in the 70's, Tully was a true home court advantage. The fans were on top of the opposing team.
6/2 12:54 PM | IP: Logged

I am hopeful that the civic center will redesigned in such a manner that it can be an entertainment center for the entire region and a home court advantage for FSU hoops.

Properly remodeled and managed this can become a very productive asset for the university. Some ideas to improve and enhance connectivity to the entire university would also be helpful.
6/2 1:29 PM | IP: Logged
Sounds like there is quite an agreement in this thread about what the priorities should be, given we can't have everything. I just hope Barron is hearing from people like ourselves, the Warchant type fans who care enough to post on a message board, than the less necessary aesthetics.

Example : Raising seats vs entrance. Concourse changes vs grass parking lot.

Just more of a great basketball experience vs lets make it pretty.
6/2 2:05 PM | IP: Logged
Sounds exciting!  I think the opinions of all of you guys would sound better attached to a check.
6/2 4:11 PM | IP: Logged
It's disappointing to hear the practice facility already needs a major renovation.
6/2 4:56 PM | IP: Logged



Originally posted by garnett76:






Originally posted by miawisenole:
The hotel idea is huge -- it would be great for the hospitality and business schools and also be revenue producer.  The civic center/hotel would ideally be revenue producing venues that would offset the cost of the projects, as opposed to the IPF and even Doak, due to the limited football dates.





I just attended an alumni event in Atalnta where Dr. Baron spoke about this topic.  He said they are in negotiations with three major hotel chains to integrate a hotel into the civic center complex and the school of hospitatlity being involved is part of the deal. 
Also putting the new College of Business across from the civic center is very much in play.  I'm not too hung up on it being an old building.  If they do the right things it will look and feel new.  They didn't do too bad with Doak Campbell stadium. so I have confidence that this will get done the right way.  He also said that he is in discussions with the city about making the street form the civic center to College Town a pedestrian mall.  I didn't get the impression that this was anywhere near a done deal, but this also could be really nice.


I wish I knew who you were I would have said hello.  I was the person who asked him about the Civic Center during the Q&A.  Very nice event.  The fact that three chains are interested in hotel seems to suggest this will happen.  I like that the plan incudes an academic angle with the Schools of Hospitality and Business in the area.  Barron seemed enthusiastic about the whole project.
6/2 7:43 PM | IP: Logged

"He said they are in negotiations with three major hotel chains to integrate a hotel into the civic center complex and the school of hospitatlity being involved is part of the deal.  "



This is huge to have 3 in talks.  To have this with the academic component....just awesome.


I REALLY hope a large donation from whatever chain comes with it.  A $25-$50 Million donation for Marriott, Starwood, etc is nothing to them.  I hope FSU can make it happen.  Could REALLY help with the academics AND maybe with the civic center renovations.







"Also putting the new College of Business across from the civic center is very much in play"


This would be great since the Dept of Hospitality might be out there doing things.  I think the big issue here is private fundraising for the building.
6/2 8:25 PM | IP: Logged
I wonder what the price point on the club seats will be.

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/2 8:32 PM | IP: Logged

Well, FSU is going to be getting about $10-13 million more per year starting in 2014/15 from the new TV and playoff money.  I would think that could really help with all of these renovations.
6/2 11:58 PM | IP: Logged
I'm sure this has been addressed but I may have missed it--- are there going to be concerts and the other occasional non-FSU events at the new place ? Just wondering... Thanks

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/3 7:31 AM | IP: Logged
One thing I am very sure of is that, whatever is done, will be absolutely first class just like all of the other campus changes in the last 10 or so years. If you step back and look at the big picture everything including baseball, track, tennis, dorms, and lots more have seen amazing changes. We have an administration and BOT that thinks much bigger than we do on the TCC.
6/3 9:24 AM | IP: Logged
Where did you get the pics of the plans? Just curious.


6/3 10:47 AM | IP: Logged
I think this is a great story, and while I agree with the idea of creating club level seating for those who will pay for it, my wish list for Doak is a little different.  Everyone is looking at declining attendance and ways to address it.  Club level seating only affects a small portion of our customer base.  While I agree we should do it, we need to address the shrinking number of graduates who don't become boosters, the students who do not attend the games, and the rank and file boosters who need a reason to pull away from the HDTV and spend the money to go to the games in person.  All programs are looking at ways to improve the "game day experience".  And so, I would:

1).  Put wi-fi in the stadium.  Period.  It has to be strong enough not only for cell phones, but for the newer PDA's as well.  And related to that.....

2).  Have apps that only work in the stadium during the game.  I would put in a live feed to the radion play by play that is in sync with the live experience.  I would add apps that give (during time outs) updates of other ACC scores and every team that FSU plays in that year.

3).  Bathrooms - 'nuff said.

4).  Regulated beer sales. 

5).  Monitors of the game throughout the concourse

6).  Higher quality food.

Bottom line - we need wi-fi for the younger fans and frankly, we need to offer amenities, that historically were only offered at club leve,l to the general group of season ticket holders. 
6/3 1:13 PM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by mbernier:

With FSU purchasing the civic center, is it now considered part of campus?  Does the purchase affect whether booze can be sold during bball games?
No.
6/3 3:11 PM | IP: Logged
The first step in any plan for Civic Center should start with

1. Rent a bulldozer

after that I would be fine with the plan
6/3 3:17 PM | IP: Logged
I agree 100% on wifi, bathrooms, more monitors (there are some) and higher quality food (healthier).  The food issue has been addressed on small scale at baseball and to a smaller degree at basketball.  It is ridiculous that if you have a phone plan with one of our main sponsors, AT&T, service is not available during a game.  
 
6/3 3:26 PM | IP: Logged



6).  Higher quality food.



Idk, that chicken fajita wrap is pretty damn good.
6/3 3:59 PM | IP: Logged
All AD's are looking to improve the "Game day" experience - something that can only be done if you are there in person.  Wi-fi opens up the possibilities.  At Redskins games, my son goes with a special snall device (Looks like a mini iPad) that hooks up to updates for all NFL games.  Gotta go digital to do things like that. 
6/3 4:14 PM | IP: Logged
They should totally move the Hospitality school there. If they do it right and have some good bands, and I don't see why they couldn't, it'd be real big for student life. I'm for just turning that parking lot into a green space. We have that giant new parking garage nobody needs to be parking over at the civic center any more. With College Town going up they can totally redesign that whole corridor from the railroad tracks and Macomb down to the stadium. Pretty sure that's the expansion plan for the next couple of years
6/3 5:57 PM | IP: Logged
For today's fan they should add powerful wifi and beam heavy statistical and background info corresponding to game action. Q

Posted from wireless.rivals.com

6/4 5:20 PM | IP: Logged
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