BOG approves $35 million Sun Dome renovation

Construction on the Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center is quickly changing the face of the Sun Dome, but the interior will soon get an upgrade as well.

On Thursday, the Board of Governors approved a $35 million renovation to the home of USF’s basketball and volleyball teams to go along with the construction of the practice center on the south side of the Sun Dome and the new baseball, softball and soccer stadiums, which are all located nearby.

Construction on the Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center is expected to be completed in June, while the renovations to the main Sun Dome structure are slated for completion by the end of 2011, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will likely be forced to play at least a portion of their schedule off campus, likely at the St. Pete Times Forum, which hosted one USF men’s basketball game this season and six second- and third-round NCAA Tournament games earlier this month.

Seating will be added to the corners of the lower level in the Sun Dome, creating a bowl design similar to the upper level. A center-hung scoreboard will also be included, rather than the four video boards currently positioned over the tunnels in each corner.

A new concourse and concession areas are also included in the update to the building, which is approaching its 31st birthday. Construction began in 1977, and the Sun Dome opened Nov. 29, 1980.

One reason for the renovations is an apparent lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“It is at the point where there have been some ADA issues to the point where it’s been registered in Washington, D.C.,” USF President Judy Genshaft said to the St. Petersburg Times. “It is our largest venue … It is important we move on this. And we’re ready to move very quickly on this.”