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UMKC makes big upgrades to classic arena

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Municipal Auditorium is a classic venue that hasn't hosted a tournament game in nearly 50 years. (UMKC Athletics)
Municipal Auditorium is a classic venue that hasn't hosted an NCAA tourney game in nearly 50 years. (UMKC Athletics)

Municipal Auditorium is one of the legendary arenas in all of college basketball. Younger readers might not be aware of this, considering it's the home of Missouri-Kansas City, which has endured losing seasons in five of the past six years and hasn't made an NCAA tournament.

But Municipal, which the school announced has been renovated for the upcoming season, hosted three of the first four Final Fours. The building opened in 1935, and until Dayton Arena passed it this past winter, held the record for most NCAA tournament games hosted.

With a little work left to be done, UMKC will play most its home games at Municipal this season.

"The $5 million renovation includes new video boards, LED scorer's table, sound system, lighting, seating in the lower level and electrical upgrades," according to a school release. And they're not small: 47 feet wide and 12 and a half feet tall.

Improved seating and alterations to the lights will make for a different feel inside the classic arena. More plans for upgrades are ongoing as well.

“UMKC is Kansas City's university, and we want the ‘Roos to be Kansas City's team. That's true for all sports, but particularly basketball, given our community's historic ties to and love for college basketball,” chancellor Leo E. Morton said. “That's why we're making the big move downtown, and making a big move to capture the community's imagination and passion with a new coach and a new conference.”

The 'Roos will start a new era with a new coach, Kareem Richardson, who came from his post as an assistant at Louisville. This year the program moves into the Western Athletic Conference after spending the past six seasons in the Summit League.

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