Wayne State University approves construction of basketball arena


The Board of Governors of Wayne State University has approved the construction of a $25m basketball arena at its athletic complex in Detroit, Michigan.

The approved plan includes building a 70,000ft2 arena, with a seating capacity of 3,000, office space and locker room areas for both WSU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. It will be located near the intersection of Warren and Trumbull avenues. The arena is expected to be play-ready in the 2021-22 basketball season.

For more than 50 years in the 100-year history of Wayne State’s basketball program, the games were played in the Matthaei Center.

Matthaei Center was built in 1965, as part of the city’s effort in bringing the 1968 Olympics to Detroit.

Wayne State University Board of Governors chair Kim Trent said: “Our outstanding student-athletes have played basketball at Wayne State for a century, but never in an arena facility designed for basketball.

“I am thrilled that they will soon have the best amenities around. A special thanks to Governor Sandy Hughes-O’Brien, who has been a passionate proponent of this project.”

The new basketball arena is expected to be a game-changer for the university’s athletic program, bringing the program into a stronger position in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

In addition to the Matthaei Center, the University can now use the two facilities for intramural athletic participation, with increased scheduling and growth opportunity for intramural sports programming.

Wayne State University president M. Roy Wilson said: “We are excited about the opportunities that will be created for our student-athletes and our greater student body with the addition of this new venue and a great partnership with the Detroit Pistons.

“One of the overlooked advantages of attending Wayne State is the opportunity to get practical experience with great businesses in our community such as the Detroit Pistons. With this new partnership, the opportunities will prove even richer.”

Wayne State University director of athletics Rob Fournier said: “The fans of Wayne State basketball have waited a long time for this announcement and its promise for the university, our students and our basketball programs.

“Our partnership with the Pistons will be transformational, from our shared association to the means to advance more opportunities in the Matthaei Building for our campus, to creating a basketball setting that underscores a mutual objective to make Detroit a basketball destination.”


Image: The new 70,000-square-foot arena will be near the intersection of Warren and Trumbull avenues. Photo: Courtesy of Wayne State University.

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