Whether it's a game night, concert or a family show, the experience inside the Ford Center is turning into one that is second to none.
Several phases of renovations are slowly bringing the 8-year-old arena up to today's standards and putting the building on par with some of the best in the country.
In March 2008, city leaders put on a full-court press for a 1-cent sales tax to finance improvements to the arena. That push ultimately helped encourage citizens to pass the vote with overwhelming support. Now, the Ford Center is creeping closer to completion. And though the end product remains more than a year away, the upgrades already are making a major difference.
Before the start of the 2009-10 NBA season, the Ford Center received a face-lift that included a new state-of-the-art scoreboard, loge seating in both end zones and a plush new courtside club. Renovations to the building's bathrooms and 300-level and club concourse also made the arena more inviting.
But the best is yet to come.
Construction on a new grand entry on the southwest side of the building will begin in the fall and could be completed in time for the 2011-12 season. The 100 level also will receive the same makeover to the finishes on the floors, walls and ceilings that the club and 300 levels received last summer.
"It's going to be more up-to-date and a bit more modern, what you would expect to see in a brand-new building," said Gary Desjardins, the building's general manager.