Tuesday, November 16, 1999

Xavier arena takes shape




BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[cintas center]
Basketball arena under construction at Xavier University.
(Craig Ruttle photo)

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        Xavier men's basketball coach Skip Prosser drives by the unfinished $44 million Cintas Center almost every day just to see the progress.

        The new on-campus home of the Musketeers is due to be completed this spring. The class of 2000 is expected to graduate there in May. The conference center, which includes a banquet hall that can seat up to 650 people, should be ready for business by summer.

        “To me, it's so exciting,” Mr. Prosser said. “I feel great about it from a basketball standpoint, but I feel even better about it from a university standpoint.”

        Mr. Prosser has never been inside the Cintas Center. Time is precious when you're getting ready for another season. But Xavier officials showed off the inside of the building Monday in media tours.

[cintas center]
Xavier's name is painted in large letters on the outside.
(AP photo)

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        The roof deck is 95 percent complete. The upper bowl seating is in place. So are the founder suites.

        Once inside, you can see where the court is going to be. Construction manager Bob Sheeran calls it an “in-your-face arena” because fans will be closer to the action than at the Cincinnati Gardens. The first row of seats, Mr. Sheeran said, is right behind the benches.

        The practice gym in the back of the building is taking shape. So is the new student dining hall, which is near the dorms and will accommodate 450 people.

        Mr. Prosser has seen only an artist's rendering of his office, which will have a window that overlooks the court. Women's basketball coach Melanie Balcomb will have a similar office.

        “No small private school in America, no small Catholic school in America, is going to have as modern and as large and as complete a facility,” Mr. Prosser said. “And that's a credit to Father (James E.) Hoff and the people that drive Xavier.”

       



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