There are no plans to make any major changes to the Smith Center in the near future but North Carolina’s basketball home could be getting a videoboard update soon.
On the agenda for the UNC Board of Governors meeting this week is the approval of a $6 million capital improvement project to replace the replay boards at the Smith Center.
“I’d like to get it done for less than that,” UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said on Monday. “We need the Board of Governors’ approval to move forward with the project.”
If approved, the new boards would be installed before the 2018-19 basketball season.
Cunningham said the tentative plan is to keep the videoboards in the four corners of the upper level of the Smith Center, although a traditional, center-hanging design also has been discussed.
“The challenge is if you go in the center, you’re going to spend about $2 million in structural costs to support it,” Cunningham said. “If you put it in the corners, you’ll get more videoboard for your dollar.”
Cunningham said while a central videoboard would make the 21,750-seat arena feel more cozier there is another downside to it.
“You wouldn’t get to see all the banners or get the open feel of the Smith Center, which is unique,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham, UNC’s AD since 2011, has been interested in making major renovations, or even replacing, the Smith Center but said those plans have taken a backseat to the university’s $4.25 billion fundraising initiative.
Cunningham said any plans to make major changes to UNC’s on-campus home since 1986 have been tabled for two to three years.
The shelf-life of the video boards is 10 to 12 years. The current ones were installed in 2006.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio