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Raleigh Arena Ready to Open for Hurricanes, Wolfpack, USA Women's Soccer?

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RALEIGH — Raleigh's new arena is scheduled to open in less than four months. The outside looks good, but will the inside be ready forWolfpack basketball,Hurricanes hockeyand a host of other events?

After much debate, redesigns and even more debate, the contractor says the construction is on schedule and will be finished by Oct. 20.

If you have not see the new Raleigh Sports and Entertainment Arena recently, you may not recognize it. The air conditioning is already turned on, and inside on a rainy Monday, workers were buzzing away.

The inside is coming along nicely, but after all of the months of construction and all of the debate over millions of public dollars, opening day is still a little fuzzy.

"The contract date is Sept. 1, and we're still holding to that," says Curt Williams with the Centennial Authority. "It doesn't mean that it will be finished by that time. The contractors tell us that for various reasons that it will be Oct. 20."

One high profile group has already picked a date. TheU.S. Women's World Cup soccer teamwill play a team of World All-Stars Nov. 21. At localTicketmasteroutlets, business was booming for the first tickets sold for a single event at the new arena.

"There people are really excited about the first event at the new arena, and we are excited to because it is a new venue for us," says ticket manager Amy Watts.

The Carolina Hurricanes' parent company Gale Force Holdings controls all of the dates aside from N.C. State basketball, and the Carolina Hurricanes still want to be the opening act.

"I think that it's going to be mid-October, and the NHL has worked with us accordingly on our schedule so that we can open the season on the road," says Dean Jordan with Gale Force Holdings.

The Hurricanes are expected to announce their home opening date on Wednesday, July 14.

The opening date of N.C. State basketball at the arena will be Nov. 19. The Centennial Authority said that at least 2,400 seats will be dedicated to students.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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