BYU announces Marriott Center renovations to begin May 1
College Basketball • Student section being moved to make way for more chair seats
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Provo • The long-rumored renovations to Brigham Young University's 41-year-old Marriott Center will start on May 1, athletic director Tom Holmoe said Friday, unveiling plans to upgrade three areas of the 41-year-old building that houses the school's basketball programs and is used for various other events throughout the year.

The biggest change is that the lower-bowl bench seating on the north side of the arena will be replaced with chairs. Also, a new sound system will be installed in the arena and the men's and women's basketball locker rooms will be renovated.

Holmoe acknowledged that many BYU students will not like the change because the student seating section will be moved from mostly center court to behind the west basket. He said he met with student leaders on Friday morning and realizes many won't be happy with the move.

The new seats will be padded and will be blue, although there are no plans to paint the yellowish benches blue, Holmoe said.

The original bench seats in sections 21-27 will be replaced with chair seats.

Holmoe declined to divulge how much the renovations will cost the school, noting BYU's status as a private institution.

Capacity at the arena for basketball will go from 22,700 to 20,900 as the chairs take up more space and will account for a loss of some 1,800 seats.

Ticket prices have been restructured for men's basketball for the 2012-13 season, Holmoe said, noting that approximately 75 percent of the seats in the arena will cost less than they did last season.

Ticket prices for season tickets will range from $50 to $575. Student sports passes will be $65 for basketball and all other non-football sports.

Holmoe said priority for ticket purchases will be given based on years patrons have been season-ticket holders, Cougar Club members, etc.

For additional information about the changes, including the restructured seating options, go to byubasketball.com or contact the Marriott Center Ticket Office at 1-800-322-2981.

There were also rumors this spring that BYU would announce the construction of a new basketball practice facility. However, Holmoe said those plans are "on the whiteboard," but nothing has been set in motion. He said feasibility studies are taking place this spring and that adding such a facility is seen as a priority for the athletic office.