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March 3, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Check out Oregon’s new digs

They’re counting down the days in Eugene, Ore. until the new Matthew Knight Arena opens in December. It’s obvious Oregon is excited about its new building, which at $200 million will be one of the most expensive college basketball arenas in the country.
Here’s an aerial shot taken February 4.
And here’s a couple of artist renditions of the new arena.
Snazzy doesn’t begin to describe this facility. It far exceeds any other basketball venue in the Pac-10 and will rival any college basketball arena in the country perhaps with the exception of the $252 million, 22,000-seat waterfront Louisville Arena that opens in the fall.
Oregon wants to host a NCAA basketball tournament sub-regional, which is why they built the arena to hold 12,541 seats. The minimum requirement is 12,500.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said Oregon is Washington’s top rival in recruiting and acknowledged it’s going to be tougher now.
“It was already tough as it was, but it is definitely not going to hurt them,” Romar said. “The kid that is being recruited today, I don’t think that they’re going to really be crying because McArthur Court is no longer. A new facility, I think will definitely help.”
Oregon coach Ernie Kent, who played for the Ducks in the 1970s, laments the passing of McArthur Court, which will host its final Pac-10 games this week, but he said the 83-year-old facility lacked auxiliary gyms to accommodate several athletic programs.
A few weeks ago Kent recalled how the building had to be evacuated one time because a popcorn machine caught fire.
“You do need a new building for where we want to go as a program,” he said Tuesday. “For where we want to go as an athletic department and institution, we need a new building at this point in time. There’s definitely will be some division there. Anytime you have change there is division going from the old to the new. MacCourt has served as a wonderful home with some unbelievable memories for so many people.
“This new building will be the building for generations to come. … It’s not just about the athletics department. Eugene as a community and Oregon as a state, with this new building will do for the economy and our representation of who we are across the country and everything else. We are very very fortunate that it is happening at this point in time and able to get on track with the economy as bad as it was. Through some wonderful wonderful people who have
given donations and their time. To Penny and Phil Knight for their generous effort, we are very fortunate that this building is going up. People will look back and realize how special this building really was. It’s going to affect so many people in a positive way.”
The Knight family donated $100 million to the project. The building is named after Phil Knight’s eldest son who died in drowning incident in 2004. He was 34.
There’s been no official announcement about the future of Mac Court, which sits in a prime location on campus. Many believe Knight wants to level the old gym and build an indoor track facility.

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