Local News

Latest Offer to Cover Arena Over-run Comes from NC State

Posted August 2, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Raleigh's new sports and entertainment arena has a hefty chunk of cash to make up. Now, North Carolina State University has a plan to come up with at least part of the cash.

Two months ago, it was announced that the Centennial Arena is going to cost an extra $25 million. The Centennial Authority rejected an earlier offer from the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team to make up the deficit.

The latest idea to cover the additional cost comes from State, which will use the arena for Wolfpack basketball. Athletic Director Les Robinson wants the school to kick in another $5 million by taking out a loan, and paying it back through basketball ticket revenues.

"It's money from the athletic department, revenue from our budget, obviously," said Robinson. "No one would be paying an extra dollar for their ticket,"

John Odom, one of the few Raleigh City Council members willing to spend more money to get the Centennial Arena done, says State's idea is a good one, but he'd like to see a plan to erase the entire deficit.

"We've seen what the Hurricanes have done, if the authority will come back with an answer for the way they think it might should be done and NC State can come back then maybe we can move forward," said Odom.

State's new chancellor says the school will play an active role in eliminating the arena's budget shortfall, but on her first day on the job, Chancellor Marye Anne Fox says she isn't ready to get into specifics.

"We're going to be at the table in the discussion about how to accomplish our goals," said Fox. "We want to finish that arena. We want to have a quality program and we want to support athletics in concert with the partnership that's developing and how that will be played out is premature to say at this point."

The contractors building the Centennial Arena could raise its $157 million price tag again. An agreement between everyone involved in the project says the extra money must be paid by October first, or the cost could go up again.