The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday January 20th

More Riser Seating Unlikely

Although they have explored the possibility of constructing a new riser section under the west end of the basketball court, officials say it is not a feasible option for the upcoming basketball season.

"Right now we don't have the capabilities to do risers on the other end," said Clint Gwaltney, director of ticket operations.

Gwaltney explained that constructing new risers is very difficult logistically because the west end of the Smith Center is configured differently than the east end, where the risers now stand.

Gwaltney said the two exit tunnels located on the east end made it easier to construct risers last year because the seats were already elevated, so people were able to see the court over students standing in the risers.

But he said the seats located in the west end are not elevated, so any students standing in riser sections would obstruct the view of people seated in the corners near the basketball court.

Gwaltney said the architect who built last year's risers and the Smith Center also assessed the physical possibilities of building new risers on the west end, but concluded that constructing new risers would be much tougher logistically.

Steve Kirschner, director of sports information, said he doesn't think constructing new risers will be an option.

Kirschner said one problem with building new risers is that there are already people sitting in the area where the risers would be built.

Kirschner said building risers last year was easier because there were more empty seats in the Smith Center, so officials were able to move people around to make room for the risers. But he said that this year there is no extra space to relocate people who already have tickets behind the west basketball goal.

Carolina Athletic Association President Reid Chaney said that in order to construct the risers last year, 50 to 60 alumni had to be moved to make room for the risers.

But he said to put risers on the west end of the basketball court, about 180 to 190 alumni would have to be relocated. Chaney also said finding comparable seating for those alumni is difficult because most of them have seats near the basket.

Chaney said to build new risers, alumni would have to lend their support. "Even if we can get 150 alumni to change their seats, if we don't get the other thirty we need, then we can't build the risers," he said.

Chaney said students also play a role in whether the risers can be constructed. He said the demand for additional risers must be supported by adequate student attendance at the games. With the exception of the Duke University game last year, not all student tickets were distributed for every home game, he said.

"When we try to get more student seating and create more risers, it hurts our chances when there are student tickets left over after each game," he said.

But Chaney said new risers are still a possibility in the future, even though there won't be any constructed this year.

"Yes, I definitely do believe it's still a possibility," he said. "But it can't happen overnight."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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