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UND' Alerus Center Looks at a Major Facelift
A major face lift could be in the works for Grand Forks’ Alerus Center starting in the next few months.
That would mean changes to the exterior to enhance the appearance of the 7-year-old facility and new graphics in the interior to better portray its ties to UND — the football team is the prime tenant — and to the community.
The estimated price tag is a hefty $620,000.
That’s $420,000 more than allocated for building improvements this year.
The money would come from revenues from the three-quarter percent sales tax set aside for Alerus Center construction debt and improvements. The fund has more revenue than is needed to make the debt payments.
Alerus Center commissioners agreed to request the budget increase at their Wednesday meeting.
If the City Council gives the OK, Executive Director Steve Hyman said he thinks the project can get done by football season.
For 2009, he said, he’s got more ideas, such as full-color electronic reader boards and a glass-curtain entrance to the convention side of the Alerus Center.
When the commission hired Hyman in January, he’d said one of his priorities is to jazz up the Alerus Center to create a feeling of excitement in visitors.
The face lift wouldn’t be so much a change to the center as a completion of the center, said Commissioner Randy Newman. Some features of the center that originally were envisioned didn’t get built, he said, because they would’ve blown the budget.
The $79 million facility already cost $8 million more than anticipated when it was completed in 2001, mostly because of higher construction costs and flood proofing.
As example of a budget-constrained item is on the south and west side where there are featureless slab walls. Green scaffold-like structures bearing the Alerus Center name add variety, but they can look a little like unfinished construction.
“People ask me what that is,” Newman said. “I don’t know what that is.”
With the face lift, the scaffolds would stay but the name would go on the wall, with backlighting to show it off. That would move the focus of attention on the name and off the scaffolds.
A logo proclaiming “Home of UND football” will be located nearby.
Also proposed is a new paint job on the east side, accentuating some of the features there.
Inside the Alerus Center will be the logos of different colleges in the Great West Conference, which UND recently joined as it moved all of its athletic programs to Division I.
The commission has long mulled some sort of graphic display to highlight UND football and the history of the region but center executive director Steve Hyman suggested something more interactive, such as video displays.
The display could show, for example, highlights from the Sioux’s greatest games, Commissioner David Evenson said.
While the city could spend less on a static display, Newman said it simply wouldn’t have quite the impact on visitors. If the center’s going to do it, he said, it’s got to do it right.
Alerus looks at a major face lift
By Tu-Uyen Tran, The Grand Forks Herald