UNC Athletics Investing in $217,000 Dean Dome Replacement Study

Duke v North Carolina men’s basketball at the Dean Smith Center March 9, 2019. (Photo: UNC/Jon Gardiner ’98)

A Kansas City-based architect firm is conducting a site planning study that could result in renovations to or replacement of the Dean E. Smith Center.

UNC’s athletics department is paying Populous Architects $217,000 to conduct the facility study for an arena for men’s and women’s basketball, and to deliver results by July 31, according to WRAL.

In February, Carolina Athletics announced it was exploring options to renovate or replace the Dean Dome, which opened in 1986, is home of the Tar Heels men’s basketball team and years ago held concerts. At the time, officials said they were exploring on and off-campus options.

Populous Architects lists the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas, Truist Park in Atlanta, Yankee Stadium and others among its projects. The firm will work with consultants Ayers Saint Gross, in Maryland; HR&A Advisors in Washington, D.C.; and Kimley-Horn, a Raleigh consulting firm, on the site planning study.

A project brief released Feb. 12 says the University intends to do site plan and massing, parking and transportation and market studies before making a decision on the arena. Massing models are simplified 3D representations used in architecture and urban planning.

UNC, Carolina Athletics and the Rams Club sent a survey in June to fans, alumni, students, faculty and staff saying their goal is to “create the best experience possible for Tar Heel student-athletes while enhancing our University community.”

Officials said to continue their standard of excellence, they must “examine all options, including maintenance and repairs to the existing venues, renovations, or a new arena.”

Carmichael Arena opened in 1965. It hosts women’s basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling.

— Cameron Hayes Fardy ’23

Share via: