R. Marsh Starks / UNLV Photo Services
Published Tuesday, March 22, 2016 | 1:51 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, March 23, 2016 | 10:34 a.m.
One last steel beam was fitted by workers onto the skeleton of Thomas & Mack Center’s new multipurpose facility this morning, signalling a fast-approaching conclusion to more than two years and $72.5 million worth of renovations to the arena.
County and university leaders gathered today outside the 33-year-old events center’s western facade, where the roughly 36,000-square-foot multipurpose facility has finally taken shape.
The “topping out” event coincided with the completion of the new facility’s superstructure, but months of interior construction and internal engineering work still remain.
The building is expected to be completed in September, according to Thomas & Mack Executive Director Mike Newcomb, just in time for a presidential debate scheduled at the arena in October.
The addition will provide a ballroom-style open space that could be used for large events like weddings, university functions or parties and vendor fairs during high-profile events like the National Finals Rodeo.
It will also include a 2,500-square-foot observation deck with great views of the Las Vegas Strip, “especially during the evening,” County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said.
“This goes well beyond athletics,” UNLV President Len Jessup said. “This now adds a spectacular place for the community to come and meet.”
The facility will be the final piece in a massive, $72.5 million modernization effort that has taken 11,000 workers more than two years and 1,200 tons of steel to complete.
“They’ve done yeoman’s work,” Jessup added.
The Thomas & Mack Center hosts about 150 events each year, attracting 850,000 visitors and generating about $200 million in revenue for the area, but it hasn’t seen a major upgrade since an escalator was added in 1999.
The renovations include added handicap seating to get the arena up to speed with the American with Disabilities Act, new entrances and escalators, new seats, upgraded concessions, new floors and improvements to the sound system.
The project was funded in part by slot tax bonds, a $12 million loan and donations from the families of the arena’s namesakes, E. Parry Thomas and Jerome Mack.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the name of Thomas & Mack Center Executive Director Mike Newcomb. | (March 23, 2016)