New Seats For An Old Arena

The Fort Worth Convention Center arena may face the wrecking ball sooner rather than later, but that doesn’t mean patrons should suffer the indignity of sitting in stained, filthy seats.

Photo: Courtesy of The Eppstein Group
Texas voters overwhelming approve funding Nov. 2 for the Fort Worth Arena, shown in an artist rendering. It’s expected to be completed by 2019.

A staff report to city councilors recommends the Texas venue get $950,000 worth of brand new ones.

“The current condition of a great many of the arena seats, especially in the upper bowl, can only be described as deplorable,” a City Council staff report states, according to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. “Our guests come out of beautifully renovated spaces to a session in the arena and experience seating that does not reflect well on the venue or the city.”

The city is renovating and, in some cases rebuilding, the convention center complex to the tune of $450 million. About 50 conventions that will use the arena are on the calendar through 2020, the target date for project completion that still hinges on financing.

The renovation and rebuilding is part of an expansive plan that calls for first building a 14,000-seat multipurpose arena and sports arena.

Replacing, rather than rehabbing, the 10,490 old seats in the current convention center arena is considered a more efficient solution to the seating problem.

“If you’re doing an event in the arena when the lights are off, it’s not so bad,” Kirk Slaughter, Fort Worth’s director of facilities and public events, told the paper. But, he says, it’s another thing when the bright lights are on and visitors can see the stains and just how worn and dirty the upholstery is. If Slaughter gets a green light from the City Council to move ahead on the project, it will immediately be put out for bid. Work would start by mid-September pending council approval.