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05-14-2009, 09:02 PM
Starsfan24's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Denton, TX - UNT
Country: United States
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The renovated and newly renamed Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco is almost ready. I got a sneak peek this morning.

The arena is home to the Texas Tornado Junior "A" level hockey team. It's also where the Dallas Stars is headquartered and the team holds practices.

The arena closed down last June, and the Tornadoes took a break for a year so the facility could be renovated for larger events. The $40 million upgrade is a project shared among the city of Frisco, Frisco ISD and the Dallas Stars.

"When we built this originally, we were in the hockey business," says Randy Locey, execuitive vice president of business operations for the Dallas Stars. "We had a 3,500-seat venue for the Texas Tornadoes, and that's all we thought we would ever be."

But people kept approaching the team about using the arena for other events. Locey said the facility was limited in what it could accommodate.

So when the city and the school district started talking about building a new venue to hold high school graduations, the Dallas Stars stepped in and offered to renovate their arena instead.

The upgrade allows 5,500 seats for hockey games, 6,000 to 6,500 for staged events and a center stage event that can fit about 7,000.

In addition, the arena has three giant video screens (the resolution's better than those at the American Airlines Center though the AAC will be upgrading its screens soon), improved acoustics, a new concessions area, a full commisary to serve the arena's VIP club and 12 luxury suites. The arena also added 80,000 pounds of rigging to the arena to support most any kind of event that might be held there.

The expansion also included a 1,000-space parking garage for all those extra people coming for events.

Construction is expected to be done by next Friday. Then there's plans to do lots of tests on everything from the kitchen and bar areas to the video screens and seating configurations before the first event June 5.

First and foremost, the arena will allow Frisco ISD to hold its graduations in Frisco. But the arena will also compete directly for business with the area's other venues, including Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie and Center in Dallas' Fair Park.

Locey said he believes the venue will tap into a key demographic, drawing people from Frisco, Plano and even North Dallas. And its location right off the Dallas North Tollway allows for easy access.

Bookings for the arena are already filling up fast - with Bill Cosby, the Harlem Globetrotters, martial arts and boxing among the offerings in June. Click here for a complete schedule and ticket information.

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