MUSKEGON -- When the nearly $1 million worth of ongoing renovations are complete at L.C. Walker Arena, the 58-year-old venue will be an attractive hangout and social spot for all types.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks' president of business operations, who is in his first year with the organization after 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the sports and entertainment realms, hopes the new arena layout appeals to everybody: Hardcore hockey fans, sports fans, families and those who are looking for a fun night out.
Highlights of the renovation include the following: A pavilion/beer garden in the north to northwest area of the arena; the already-existing Rad Dads' Tacos & Tequila Bar in the northeast corner; an enlarged concourse near the Western Avenue entrance; the addition of executive suites and club-seating areas on the south side of the arena; a Kids Zone in the southwest corner, and party decks in the northwest and southeast corners.
The seating capacity will decrease by a little more than 400. In exchange, more social areas are being created to enhance the experience for an array of spectators.
Mike McCall, Muskegon Lumberjacks' president of business operations said that all of the renovated areas at L.C. Walker Arena are expected to be open for the Lumberjacks' 2018-19 home opener Oct. 13 against the Chicago Steel.
ROSSETTI is the architecture firm handling the L.C. Walker Arena renovation. The project is part of a long-term vision of fully integrating the arena with the fabric of downtown Muskegon and improving the overall guest experience.
The overarching design goal is to create multiple viewing experiences that are social and will be connected to the event. The design borrows concepts trending in event design for larger arenas, but it will be customized to what guests desire in the western Michigan region.
"This is a multi-part deal. (ROSSETTI) is looking at this from the perspective that the convention center gets built, and so this is just phase one in the arena," McCall said. "You'll notice there's no tops on the suites -- those will be part of phase two as that happens, but right now what we've done is make it real user-friendly for all the different facets."
The ongoing work is considered to be part of phase one, designed to transform the seating and concourse areas. The facets include concourse renovation and the addition of executive suites, club area, group ticket areas, party platforms and ADA platforms.
"People crave the ability to gather in different-sized groups and have more choices in personalizing their experience at an event," said Matt Taylor, Director of Sports and Entertainment for ROSSETTI. "Our design follows the trend in larger markets to create a new 'social' concourse where all fans are visually connected to the game while allowing for a variety of seating types.
"People will have the benefit of interacting with friends and family while being a part of the larger event scene. L.C. Walker has great bones and this renovation will bring the guest experience in line with the latest event experiences."
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