The Erie Insurance Arena will go dark for five months starting this weekend. After the Erie Explosion football championship game Sunday afternoon, the arena will close to the public to allow contractors to complete a $47 million dollar expansion and renovation project.
For months the arena has maintained a schedule of sporting events and shows in the midst of the extensive construction project. Now workers will have the space to themselves. According to Erie County Convention Center Authority Director Casey Wells, the work is on budget and on schedule, but there is still much to do. The crews need to install an all new sport lighting system, 9,000 brand new arena seats and a brand new ice floor for hockey and ice shows.
Contractors have made dramatic progress on the arena's club floor installing a bar and thirteen luxury suites. Eleven of those suites are already sold at a price tag from $27,500 to $30,000 including various ticket packages.
Wells hopes to have the 10 new ticket windows open in July. Erie Otters hockey is slated to kick off its season in the expanded Erie Insurance Arena the first week of October. Wells plans what he calls a honeymoon season of opening nights for sports teams, family events and concerts. He says improvements in rigging and power backstage along with 1,500 more seats will help the arena stay competitive and perhaps attract big acts that bypassed Erie in the past.