ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Before the BMO Harris Bank Center got its name, it was known as the Rockford Metro Center and while the title brings back find memories for a lot of us, it’s also a reminder of a time when the entertainment venue was at risk of shutting down. Today the venue is looking toward a bright future.
As crews begin tearing away sections of the BMO Center’s lower bowl seating area, Paul Lindsey takes a second to enjoy what’s happening to the venue where he has worked for the last 30 years.
“This is my home,” said Lindsey. “It was state of the art in its day.”
The 32 year old arena is getting a multi-million dollar facelift including new seats and a much needed updated seating system which could save the arena nearly one hundred thousand dollars a year by cutting down on man hours.
“Usually takes about eight hours to turn it over,” said operations manager Matthew Bechtol about the process it took to pull out or put away seats before a game or show at BMO. “It was such old equipment; so outdated.”
When the new system is installed, what used to take large crews days will now only take two workers hours. BMO general manager Gordon Kaye says the new seats are just the beginning.
“People are coming into a new building,” said Kaye. “New food options, new locker rooms, new lighting. We’re definitely going after that wow factor.”
It could take up to six weeks for the entire new seat system and all other upgrades to be installed. Kaye says the renovations should be finished in time for the IceHogs regular season home opener in mid-October.