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Official Chaifetz "first impressions" thread


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OK, I'll start.

Nate was right. I don't think there's a bad seat in the place. Those of us endzone veterans, should we stay in similar seats, will be greatly upgraded. I also sat in seats 20 and 40 rows up behind the basket, and even those were darned good.

The seats I disliked the most were the ones I'll never sit in -- the luxury boxes. I guess it would have been too expensive and space-consuming to put those closer to the court.

On the one hand, I was pleased that the place wasn't too nice. The unpadded seats are definitely budget quality. There's lots of exposed concrete. Despite that, Larry's speech came through crystal clear, and the band sounded great -- the acoustics, at first listen, are pretty good. I also love the lack of a center scoreboard.

On the other hand, it's amazing how little $70M buys, although I'm sure a good chunk of it went into the training and support facilities.

I'd forgotten that Matt Krob (sp?) still worked for the U. No wonder all the graphics are so good.

The 'fetz also almost witnessed its first assault with intent to do grave bodily harm. A middle-aged fan asked a student why there weren't more students there, and he said something to the extent of "tickets for us are free at Scottrade and they're going to start charging us $35 to come here." I strangled a banister to resist my natural reaction to such a statement.

Saw Willie. Saw Roy in the middle of the floor. My daughter brushed up against Kevin on the concourse and is now convinced that they're engaged.

I had no idea Father Biondi was a Christian Scientist, but I guess having an arena named "Chaifetz" has really expanded his ecumenism.

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I loved the new place! Like everyone seems to be saying there is not a bad seat in the house. Just looking at the side that was pretty full of people, I can imagine how loud and crazy the place will be come game night with a full house. With the seats built "vertically" it really does seem like everyone is right on the court. It truly will be an intimidating place to play. The behind the scenes stuff is really nice also. I love the little classroom area in the men's locker room...noticed there wasn't one in the women's.

I thought outside of student athletes that student turnout was pretty poor. Hopefully thats not an indicator of things to come. I doubt it will be though seeing as I know a lot of students were in class, had meetings, etc.

Finally, Ruben Cotto was there today touring the new place. I really hope this kid qualifies. He really seems genuinely pumped to be a Billiken.

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I thought the practice facility was great... It had a very high ceiling...Also the dressing rooms were fantastic with the individual stalls with a lock box for valuables...I was not impresed with the sound system unless it was my very old ears...The outside of the building and the surrounding grounds are beautiful...I never thought I would see such a facility on the SLU campus.

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2 years ago, when I walked into the new Busch for the first time, I was very disappointed for so many different reasons. There were disappointing sitelines, closed concourses, cheap-looking peal-and-stick brick facades, poorly designed restrooms, tacky advertisements, and on and on.

For that reason, I prepared myself for the worst this afternoon. Thankfully, from the moment I walked through the door until the second I left over two hours later, I was in absolute awe. I don't know if there was a single thing I would have designed differently. It was perfect and awesome in all respects. The concourse was well-designed, the size and sitelines were perfect from all angles I could find, the scoreboards were magnificent, the behind-the-scenes facilities were amazing. I can't imagine that there is a better facility anywhere in college basketball.

I also spend about 15 minutes down on the court. The entire time I was down there, Ruben Cotto was a few feet away on the court with his girlfriend and both of their moms. He looked so happy and excited. He and his girlfriend had their picture taken with the Billiken, and he was just beaming from ear to ear. He was carrying a fairly thick notebook labeled Saint Louis University Basketball Strength and Conditioning Program. For those who haven't seen him up close, he is strong and athletically built and probably just over six feet tall.

The future is bright!

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I thought the practice facility was great... It had a very high ceiling...Also the dressing rooms were fantastic with the individual stalls with a lock box for valuables...I was not impresed with the sound system unless it was my very old ears...The outside of the building and the surrounding grounds are beautiful...I never thought I would see such a facility on the SLU campus.

I have waited thirty-nine (39) years for this day. Nothing anyone posts is going to ruin this feeling. What a great venue for our team. Thank-you SLU.

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This place is going to be great. I can't wait for the fall season. I wish I could of spent more than 30 minutes in the place before they turned off the lights. I agree I don't think there is a bad seat in the house. The only thing that might be a hassle is getting out of the parking garage with only 3 exits and 2000 vehicles.

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I have waited thirty-nine (39) years for this day. Nothing anyone posts is going to ruin this feeling. What a great venue for our team. Thank-you SLU.

I took the family and everyone, even my wife who was not excited about going had a great time. I am extremely impressed with the building; the only seats that I was not wild about were the high seats that are parallel to the scoreboards. The view of the court is excellent but you feel like you are cut off from a large part of the crowd. That is my only small complaint, however. The university pulled off the open house in first class fashion. The view of the practice courts from the concourse is fantastic. The locker rooms are awesome; I saw Dr. Chaifetz in the men's locker room and it seemed like he was having a great time. I met Nate down on the court and had a nice chat; I hope he's right about our recruiting future. Like New Baden, I have waited for this day a long time and I was not disappointed.

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I heard rumblings that there were over 10,000 in attendance this afternoon!

Yeah, and the VP Fair used to draw 1 million people every year. B)

We got there toward the end of Larry's speech. There was virtually no one in the endcourts and the center section facing him was about 80 percent full. I didn't make a full impression of how many people were behind him, but I wouldn't guess more than half full, if that.

If the place holds about 11 with standing room, there were at best 3-4,000 there for the actual ceremony. I can't imagine it turned twice over the next two hours. (Plus even about 6K at the height of rush hour would have royally screwed traffic, and we had no problems getting there, parked in a meter on Lindell just short of Compton, and got right out afterwards.)

I'd guess maybe 6-8K depending on how many people showed up in the 6-7 hour. Not shabby by any means, but I'm still p!ssed about the crack that student made and the relative lack of student attendance.

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Yeah, and the VP Fair used to draw 1 million people every year. B)

We got there toward the end of Larry's speech. There was virtually no one in the endcourts and the center section facing him was about 80 percent full. I didn't make a full impression of how many people were behind him, but I wouldn't guess more than half full, if that.

If the place holds about 11 with standing room, there were at best 3-4,000 there for the actual ceremony. I can't imagine it turned twice over the next two hours. (Plus even about 6K at the height of rush hour would have royally screwed traffic, and we had no problems getting there, parked in a meter on Lindell just short of Compton, and got right out afterwards.)

I'd guess maybe 6-8K depending on how many people showed up in the 6-7 hour. Not shabby by any means, but I'm still p!ssed about the crack that student made and the relative lack of student attendance.

I got there at 5:00, and people were pouring in then. That was a full hour after the ceremony. I wasn't there for the opening ceremony, but my buddy said it was close to half full.

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During a tour of the locker room, I was pleasantly surprised to see that several of our regular posters made very generous donations.

I disagree with Joe. I thought there was suprisingly little exposed concrete. The concourse had essentially zero exposed concrete (exactly the opposite of the Family Arena), and the bowl had inoffensive exposed concrete around the entrances and walkways. There were surprisingly few tacky advertisements.

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During a tour of the locker room, I was pleasantly surprised to see that several of our regular posters made very generous donations.

I disagree with Joe. I thought there was suprisingly little exposed concrete. The concourse had essentially zero exposed concrete (exactly the opposite of the Family Arena), and the bowl had inoffensive exposed concrete around the entrances and walkways. There were surprisingly few tacky advertisements.

I agree with all the great things said about Chaifetz, but the best part was after I left I was able to stop by Pappy's Smokehouse and get a "to go" order of pulled pork, french fried sweat potatoes and slaw. Boy, it sure was good.

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I can't tell you how proud I was to tour the building. When I walked in to see the court for the first time, it really sunk in - this isn't where the Blues play, this is OUR house. It was a really awesome feeling. I think it's going to have a huge impact on school spirit, both for students and alums.

I wish they would have marked off where the red seats, green seats etc. were. Still, there's not really a bad seat in the house. The seats in the corners, at the top are not ideal because they're behind the scoreboards, but the view of the court from there is still great.

I would have liked to have seen a lot more pics of former Billiken greats and highlights of great moments in Billiken history in the concourses, but that's a minor complaint. All in all, I was really impressed.

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I was impressed with the event SLU put together.

I was standing around on the court for a while after the ceremony and didn't realize there was all the stuff going on up on the concourse. If I hadn't gone to the fan shop to try to buy something for my daughter, I would have missed all the activity going on up there — along with the free soda and mini hotdogs.

That was a really nice family-friendly event. It was a lot more than I was expecting.

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I am envious of all of you who did get your first close up of the Bills new home. I cannot wait to attend a game and I plan to make it to St. Louis for at least one game next year. So many great things are happening for SLU.

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I was impressed with the event SLU put together.

I was standing around on the court for a while after the ceremony and didn't realize there was all the stuff going on up on the concourse. If I hadn't gone to the fan shop to try to buy something for my daughter, I would have missed all the activity going on up there — along with the free soda and mini hotdogs.

That was a really nice family-friendly event. It was a lot more than I was expecting.

For those who weren't there, they had free create-animals clown balloons and face painting for the kids, free food and drink at all the stands, free skee ball and other games in the concourse, free inflatable games in the practice facility, exotic animals for the kids to pet, free mini-balls for the kids, free autographs, and free pictures as a Billiken. You could also meet Majerus, walk on the court, and tour nearly every inch of the facility. It was the best event I have ever see the athletic department host by a mile.

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For those who weren't there, they had free create-animals clown balloons and face painting for the kids, free food and drink at all the stands, free skee ball and other games in the concourse, free inflatable games in the practice facility, exotic animals for the kids to pet, free mini-balls for the kids, free autographs, and free pictures as a Billiken. You could also meet Majerus, walk on the court, and tour nearly every inch of the facility. It was the best event I have ever see the athletic department host by a mile.

David doesn't want anyone to know this, but he was running around wearing a giraffe balloon hat and had a Billiken painted on his face... B)

I thought the event was first class and was extremely well attended. We did not arrive until around 5:45 PM and it was packed in the hallways and along the concourses not to mention the floor of the arena. The facility is really first class. Compared to the similarly sized family arena, it is like comparing a Yugo to an Aston Martin, not even fair. I like that the student section is bleachers which reminds me of the old Keil...ahhh, those were the days. And, for anyone who had any doubts, the beer taps have been installed (this is a Jesuit school).

It is true that there does not appear to be a bad seat in the house. Additionally, the Billiken GOLD and Billiken LOYAL BLUE seats are nice padded seats, although a bit narrow. I estimate that there are about 1,000 GOLD seats and probably no more than 200 LOYAL BLUE. Assuming people get about 4 tickets on average, people whose numbers are 300 or below should have an opportunity for the better seats if they are willing to pay the extra fee ($400 for the GOLD and $2,500 for the LOYAL BLUE). I cannot wait for June 4th!!!

The concourse areas are really nice too. I would have expected this to be an area where they saved some money (e.g. Family Arena), but the concourses were very well done. For those of us who attended SLU 20+ years ago, just walking out of the arena on the North side and looking back at campus is amazing. It really is just a beautiful setting and hard to believe it is the same place I graduated from.

Does anyone know what the deal is with Lorenzinis or whatever the name was of the bar on the first (ground) floor? It looks really nice, but will it be open to anyone or will you have to have one of Nark's giraffe hats on to get in..?

One last point, the other facilities (training areas, locker rooms, classrooms, offices, etc) are really nice. I assume they are pretty much first class - I have not been in similar buildings. I was joking around with Tommie, Barry, and Paul saying that they were sure going to miss West Pine and they just shook their heads. I think they are REALLY pumped about the new building and the facilities and will NOT miss West Pine.

Bottom line: this is what we have been waiting for and it is HERE! Pinch yourselves, this is no dream.

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I thought the place was spectacular! Maybe it's the fact that we've been playing in hockey arenas for the vast majority of the years of SLU basketball that I can remember, but I was repeatedly impressed with the fact of how close everything was to the court, plus that unlike Scottrade, there is no true upper deck that is way up in the sky.

I got a glimpse of the court from a variety of places around the arena throughout the course of the event. First off, I was impressed with the overall location the band. I had been hearing for a long time that our seating in the Chaifetz was going to be of great inconvenience. I actually thought it fit pretty well. Apparently our space from today might be trimmed down a little bit when the actual games start, even that might work out fine. Also, due to the raised level of seats, I had a better view of the court this afternoon than I ever did from the band section at Savvis/Scottrade. I could actually see the entire court!

One thing I had not realized when looking at the pictures that had been taken were that those four Jumbotrons were not positioned on the walls in each corner. When I arrived and looked around, I was rather surprised to see that there were in fact seats BEHIND these scoreboards. When I started to look around the different sections, the first place I went to sit was in the upper corner behind one of those scoreboards. Believe it or not, the view of the court is in no way obstructed. It might be a bit difficult to see what's going on in other portions of the upper deck, but I can't even say that those seats have a poor view.

For those of you who weren't there; the seats are really right on top of the court. I think between that, and the fact that you're looking at a more intimate setting, will make this a great basketball environment.

I though the practice facility looked nice. Once again for those who haven't seen the place, you can look down at the practice courts from a spot in the concourse, as well as somewhere else that I think was the walkway from the athletic offices to the concourse. My question concerning that is considering that Majerus doesn't open his practices to the public (as evidenced by his covering the doors into the gym at West Pine so nobody could see in), is there going to be some sort of curtain that will cover those windows?

Obviously, most of us see the construction of this arena as something primarily men's basketball related, simply because that's the biggest sport for the school and the one we follow the most. I can't even fathom just how big a difference this will be for some of the other programs within the athletic department. In my time as a sports reporter for the University News a couple years ago, I walked through the hallways of West Pine and entered coaches offices on occasion. I had heard Soderberg describe how bad the walk to his office with a recruit could be, and from what I saw, he had the best office of any coach. That office building they built really gives those programs beyond men's basketball a level of legitimacy they never had before. I was seeing signs for offices for assistant coaches of sports like volleyball, men's and women's soccer, etc. While I didn't visit the offices of all those sports at West Pine, I doubt such offices existed.

For those of you who didn't see it, Lorenzini's on the lower level seems to have a pretty cool setup. Not sure how it will work for the real games, as I suspect that it'll be something like the Arena/Savvis/Scottrade Club where you need to be a Billiken Club member to enter, but it could be a good place to go before or after a game.

Overall I loved the place. It's so great to see a building that has SLU Billiken blue all over the place, with the walls covered in nothing but SLU stuff. No more walking through the concourses and seeing hockey memorabilia or shrines to the Missouri Valley Conference.

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I loved the new place! Like everyone seems to be saying there is not a bad seat in the house. Just looking at the side that was pretty full of people, I can imagine how loud and crazy the place will be come game night with a full house. With the seats built "vertically" it really does seem like everyone is right on the court. It truly will be an intimidating place to play. The behind the scenes stuff is really nice also. I love the little classroom area in the men's locker room...noticed there wasn't one in the women's.

I thought outside of student athletes that student turnout was pretty poor. Hopefully thats not an indicator of things to come. I doubt it will be though seeing as I know a lot of students were in class, had meetings, etc.

Finally, Ruben Cotto was there today touring the new place. I really hope this kid qualifies. He really seems genuinely pumped to be a Billiken.

When I went to SLU there were never classes at 4 PM unless it was some lab for a science geek. Has that changed?

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I loved the arena. My only problem is still the fact that volleyball will not be playing on the main floor.

I don't know if its a bad thing that volleyball will not be playing on the main floor. As people on here have mentioned before, you avoid the mess of lines on the court and the little metallic plates on the floor where the nets are to be secured. Furthermore, it would just be awkward for a team that doesn't even draw 1000 people to games to play in such a large venue. It would be cavernous and empty. It will be a much better atmosphere in the practice facility where they have bleachers set up.

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