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Lafayette hopes to enhance homecourt advantage with $1.7 million renovation

Aug 31, 2013, 1:15 PM EDT

fran o'hanlon AP
Lafayette will get a boost to its homecourt advantage this season thanks to a $1.7 million renovation to the Kirby Sports Center. The renovation includes new LED score tables, HD video scoreboards, chairback seating and new bleachers.

But the biggest change in the renovation is the addition of seating along each baseline of the Kirby Sports Center, which now gives Lafayette a true arena feel with seating surrounding the court instead of the old arena’s high school gymnasium feel.

Although seats are being added around the floor, since the Leopards are going with more chairback seating instead of bleachers, the capacity of the Kirby Sports Center will go from 3,500 to 2,650 and should make for a more intimate feel.

Head coach Fran O’Hanlon sounds excited for the changes according to an interview with City of Basketball Love.

“It’s a huge shot in the arm for our program and athletic department,” O’Hanlon told City of Basketball Love. “It helps with recruiting; helps raise the prestige around campus, which is great. We have a beautiful campus, and now we have a top class arena to go along with it.”

O’Hanlon seems particularly pleased with the new arena feel.

“The bleacher seats behind the baskets are great. It will completely enclose the court, and give it an arena feel,” O’Hanlon said. “The students have a place to stand and make noise, hold signs up when the other team is shooting free throws. We’ve always had a good home court advantage, this will only add to it.”

Lafayette went 19-15 last season with a 10-4 record in the Patriot League. The Leopards advanced to the league championship game, falling 64-56 at Bucknell and this homecourt advantage should help them compete in the Patriot League for many years to come.

Lafayette opens the new digs on November 12 against Robert Morris.