Wheeling arena upgrades unveiled

Artist's rendering from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register This artist’s rendering shows preliminary facade overhaul plans for WesBanco Arena, part of an estimated $4 million in upgrades Wheeling plans to make to the 37-year-old venue.

Artist’s rendering from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
This shows preliminary facade overhaul plans for WesBanco Arena, part of an estimated $4 million in upgrades Wheeling plans to make to the 37-year-old venue.

WHEELING, W.Va. – City leaders unveiled images of a future, new-look WesBanco Arena on Tuesday as they prepare to invest more than $4 million in upgrades into the 37-year-old facility.

Plans call for the city to sell bonds backed by a portion of revenue from Wheeling’s new 0.5-percent sales tax to fund construction.

City Manager Robert Herron discussed the impending improvements at length during the council meeting, and provided a first look at preliminary drawings depicting a much more modern flair for the arena, which was built in 1977 and serves as the home of the Wheeling Nailers hockey team.

The city has selected M&G Architects of Wheeling from among five groups competing to design the project, and on Tuesday, City Council heard first reading of an ordinance to pay the firm a flat fee of $365,000 for its services with a vote on the contract set for June 17.

Instead of using exterior steps to get to the front door, patrons would enter the building at street level and can use either stairways or an elevator to access the main concourse. Ticket windows also would be moved inside to the new lobby.

“This will improve the customer experience as soon as they walk in the front door,” Herron said.

Also targeted for replacement are the arena’s roughly 5,400 bright-orange seats, which are original to the building and, in many cases, in poor shape.

The city also plans to install a center-mounted video board, and possibly ribbon boards, and upgrade restrooms and concession stands throughout the building.

Herron said the project will be broken into three separate contracts…

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