"We're just tickled. It's going to make such a difference,” Civic Center General Manager Jim Wetherington said.
The old seats, installed in 1982, were falling apart.
"The biggest part is they weren't making parts for these seats anymore. We were having to have parts manufactured. They were outdated. They were well beyond their usable life," Wetherington said.
So the Civic Center is putting nearly $1.4 million into replacing 8,000 seats in the arena.
"It's a little different color red,” Wetherington said. “We're going with a black back in the upper bowl rather than a red back so that there's empty seats that won't show as much."
The new chairs also have thicker cushions and higher backs. But most importantly, all the new seats have cup-holders. However, they had to make one small adjustment.
"You have to take into consideration your souvenir cups. You have to make sure they fit," he said.
One row will be added to the top of the upper bowl, but one row is getting taken out of the Mezzanine section to fit in some premium seating.
"It's special because we're able to bring the seats up to the level that the clients expect," Wetherington said.
The seat renovations are part of a $4 million dollar grant from the state. Other projects include upgrading the sound in the theater, the skywalk and the meeting rooms.
The Civic Center hopes to have this all wrapped up by the beginning of September, and the first event here with the new seating: the Carlos Santana concert.
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