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GCU to expand seating at new arena

Phoenix — It opened just a few years ago, but officials at Grand Canyon University are already going to make changes at GCU Arena.

The 5,000 seat arena is the home court of GCU’s basketball team, and the school has recently jumped to NCAA Division I sports.

Former Arizona Diamondbacks President Jerry Colangelo is now with Grand Canyon University. During a Saturday appearance on KTAR’s Arizona’s Morning News Weekend show, Colangelo said the arena is too small.

“If GCU knew when the building went up just a couple of years ago that they would be in Division I as quickly as we have, it would have been built bigger,” Colangelo said.

“We need more seats for next season, and we’ve figured out a way to add 2,000 more seats.”

Even though the building will seat 7,000 next year, Colangelo insists that every seat will be close to the action. “It will be a very intimate arena,” he said.

“When you have 7,000 standing-room-only people watching basketball, I love that because in basketball, intimacy sells.”

Colangelo said that’s what he had in mind when he led the building of America West Arena in downtown Phoenix in the early 1990s. He says that arena, which is now known as U.S. Airways Center, has remained intimate through all of these years as the home court of the Phoenix Suns.

He said that the arena needs to expand to keep pace with the school’s growth. The university has some 8,500 students now. It’s projected to jump to 15,000 within the next few years.

In addition to basketball, GCU Arena also hosts many Christian concerts and events.

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