Local News

Workers Prepare Arena for Oct. 29 Opening

Posted September 28, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— After years of planning, debate and construction the opening ofRaleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arenais now 30 days away.

A quick glance around might lead a visitor to believe that all that remains to be added is the ice. But a closer look reveals it will be crunch time for crews working to get the arena ready for theCarolina Hurricaneshome opener.

"We've come a long way in the last six months," the Hurricanes' Dave Olsen said. "The three prime contractors out here and their subcontractors have really made a commitment to getting things done, and they're going to make it. We're going to play hockey on the 29th."

TheArena Authority's Curt Williams agrees. "Barring any unforeseen difficulties that could occur between now and the end of next month -- who knows what can happen -- we've seen tragedies occur in other cities with arenas and coliseums. But we're hopeful and praying that that doesn't happen," he said.

The goalposts are in, and 58 luxury suites, at an average price of $125,000 a year, are almost ready.

The seats, which N.C. State says are notWolfpackred, are still being installed. Who will pay to replace the seats is a battle likely to be fought in the courts, not the arena.

A number of issues have caused tension among the arena partners.

"Somebody's going to not like me for saying this, but we are one big happy family," Williams said. "Every family has arguments, disagreements, whatever. We are all united in what we're trying to do."

Gale Force holdings now has a ticket office open on the arena site. You can buy tickets for any arena event there.