Florida State’s arena Donald L. Tucker Center to undergo major upgrades this summer

The Donald L. Tucker Center will get new scoreboards installed, an improved sound system and all 12,000 seats in the arena will be replaced.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Donald L. Tucker Center will receive its biggest upgrades in the arena’s 33 years this summer as Florida State will replace all 12,000 seats plus install new scoreboards and an updated sound system.

Work is scheduled to begin in early June, following commencement ceremonies for both Florida State and Tallahassee-area high schools. The project is ambitious for the short amount of time, with most of the work being done in June through September so that the arena will be ready for the Seminoles’ Midnight Madness preseason basketball event (which is typically held in mid-October).

"It’s going to be a bee hive of activity," Florida State senior associate vice president for facilities Dennis Bailey said. "We’re trying to do so much in a short period of time. I think it will be a much better fan experience."

Fans had long hoped for updates to the Tucker Center, which was built in 1981 and is one of the more outdated arenas in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Florida State and Seminole Boosters, Inc., took over ownership of the Tucker Center in 2013 and quickly put together a plan to improve it.

The first phase will be done this summer. Bailey said some infrastructure upgrades to chillers and air handlers will be made first. Bathroom fixtures will also be updated.

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Then the fun begins as 12,000 upholstered, multi-color seats will be removed and replaced with all-garnet seats. Bailey said school officials are debating the merits of replacing the seats with ones that are similarly sized — 19 inches — or with wider 21-inch seats.

New Jumbotrons will be added in each of the Tucker Center’s four corners, along with an overhead scoreboard with large video screens on all four sides. "Ribbon" scoreboards also will be added just below the club-level seats.

"I feel confident with the plan that has been put in place," Florida State men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton said. "Over time you are going to see our basketball facilities be equal to or better than some of the others in our league."

Florida State officials have also ordered a new floor, which will feature the revised Seminole head logo.

Bailey said he didn’t have specific costs for the first phase of the project but estimated that it would run several million dollars. Other phases are still being planned.

Hamilton said he’s excited about both the improvements that will happen before the 2014-15 basketball season and in the future.

"The commitment has been made," Hamilton said. "It’s just a matter of time. The plan is to really, really do a spectacular job on the facility."

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