A.J. Palumbo Center To Receive Facelift
May 12, 2010
PITTSBURGH - The A.J. Palumbo Center - home to Duquesne University basketball and volleyball teams, as well as the site of commencement ceremonies and concerts - will undergo a $1.8 million interior renovation beginning this week.
Plans include the installation of chair back seats from top-to-bottom on the north side of the arena and replacement of existing treads, risers and chair backs on the lower level of the south side of the facility. In addition a custom designed center-hung Daktronics video board and four lower level corner scoreboards will be installed.
Construction, which began on Monday, is expected to be completed in early September. It will be the first extensive renovation of the main bowl of the arena which opened its doors in November of 1988.
Funding for the project is coming from the University capital improvements budget.
"The work being done is yet another example of the University's ongoing commitment to provide the assets necessary for our athletic programs to achieve at the highest level," said Director of Athletics Greg Amodio. "The improvements will elevate the event-day experience for our fans as well as the student body as a whole."
The new chair back seating, which will include 560 premium seats located between the two foul lines on both sides of the playing floor, will change the Palumbo Center's capacity from 5,358 to 4,406.
"The improvements will impact our program by adding to the game-day atmosphere and at the same time contribute greatly to our home court advantage," said head men's basketball coach Ron Everhart. "A new-look Palumbo Center will greatly help us in recruiting. This could not come at a better time for our program."
This is the second Palumbo Center renovation project in the past five years. In 2006, men's and women's basketball as well as administrative staff offices, a recruiting suite, a state-of-the-art video breakdown room in addition to student-athlete-only strength and conditioning and athletic training rooms were constructed at a cost of $2 million on the concourse level.
"We have very loyal fans who I know will enjoy the added amenities," said women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio. "From a coaching standpoint, the improvements will help us as we continue to recruit the best-of-the-best to Duquesne University."
The Palumbo Center, which houses athletics department and facility staff, has been the site of four post-season conference volleyball tournaments (1993, 1994, 1998 & 2004), two National Invitation Tournament men's basketball games (1994), one Women's National Invitation Tournament game (2009) and two opening rounds of the Atlantic 10 women's basketball tournament (1989 & 1990). The facility also annually serves as the host site for numerous high school basketball tournaments and playoff games. In recent years, the Palumbo Center has hosted HBO: Boxing After Dark as well as numerous concerts including Kings of Leon, Keith Urban, O.A.R. and Dashboard Confessional.
Duquesne's basketball home is named in honor of the late Antonio J. Palumbo, the son of an immigrant family who built his wealth in the coal mining and real estate industries near his home in St. Marys, Pa. Mr. Palumbo, who served on DU's board of directors, donated more than $15 million to universities, colleges, hospitals and high schools in the region prior to his passing in 2002. His generosity resulted in his name being attached to a number of high-profile buildings and academic programs that he felt symbolized his values.
The A.J. Palumbo Center, built at a cost of $10.1 million, was dedicated on Sept. 23, 1988.