Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Education

Renovated USF Sun Dome opens in time for graduation

TAMPA — University of South Florida senior Ben Krienik missed seeing basketball games at the Sun Dome, which was closed this season for $35 million in renovations.

But on Tuesday, he decided it was worth the inconvenience.

"This is amazing, a night-and-day difference," said Krienik, 22, as he stood on the floor where Bulls basketball teams will play next season — and where his class graduates this weekend.

While the Sun Dome was closed, the Bulls played many of their home games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The crown jewel of USF's athletics and entertainment complex is back — and better.

"We have waited a long time for this day to arrive," USF president Judy Genshaft said in remarks before a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which included performances by the university band and cheerleaders.

The upgrades include reconfiguring the 10,000-seat arena to add a center scoreboard, concessions and restrooms in a new concourse level and opportunities for club-level viewing. The upgrades also include a new sound system and new lighting.

In its heyday, the old Sun Dome attracted performers from Frank Sinatra to Billy Joel.

University officials hope the facelift will help them recapture some of that concert and event cachet. They predict the revenue generated by the arena will be more than $4 million a year, triple that of years past. Should the revenues fall short of those estimates, the USF Foundation will cover the shortfall.

Athletic director Doug Woolard called the reopening "a game-changing moment" in USF history.

Workers are continuing to put finishing touches on the Sun Dome, and the new flooring in the arena won't be installed for another month.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374.

Comments
School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears to have been in line for a sizable inheritance. He’ll never get to spend it — except perhaps on defense attorneys.The amount could be enough to compel a judge to order him to hire a private lawyer, rather ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

DADE CITY — A Pasco High School student was taken into custody Tuesday amid accusations of threatening violence against the school. The campus was not at risk, school district officials said. But they made clear they take each threat seriously, and t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

LARGO — An Illinois teacher used confrontation. A campus safety monitor in Seattle attacked with pepper spray and physical force. An assistant football coach in Indiana shouted as he chased him into the woods.All were civilians who took down an activ...
Published: 02/20/18
Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

LARGO — Pinellas County School Board members are not happy about the prospect of having to hand over academic control at three struggling schools to a private company, and paying the firm up to $2 million on top of it. But that’s the course they must...
Published: 02/20/18
Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

The parents of Andrew Coffey, the Florida State University student who died from alcohol poisoning after an apparent hazing episode last year, have sued the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and nine of its members for their son’s death.Coffey, who wa...
Published: 02/20/18
Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Schools nationwide are on heightened alert in the wake of last week’s fatal shootings in Broward County, and in the Tampa area, that means official warnings about social media posts and more calls for police action.Two Tampa boys, one 15 and one 16, ...
Published: 02/20/18
Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

TAMPA — During a news conference Tuesday morning, Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan warned against misleading investigators with reports about school security."Spread the word," the school said in a t...
Published: 02/20/18
‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

TAMARAC — The shooting was all over, but the emotional reckoning had just begun, and so on Saturday the teachers of Broward County in Florida packed their union hall to discuss what it meant to have become the nation’s human shields."Last night I tol...
Published: 02/20/18
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco sixth-graders might get to play school sports

Pasco County middle schools are making plans to allow sixth-graders to participate on sports teams next year for the first time.District athletic director Matt Wicks plans to bring a policy revision proposal to the School Board in the next few months...
Published: 02/20/18