Last fall, Georgia Southern’s Hanner Fieldhouse underwent construction to improve the facility’s lighting, entrances for easier movement and a new student entrance.
Now that the Eagles have played their final home game of the season, the school has gone through its first complete season with the all the renovations. Anyone who has ever walked inside of Hanner probably noticed a few changes before even entering the building.
On the outside, the old Hanner Fieldhouse signage was replaced with a newer and more authentic sign. The entrance has been out pushed further making more space available inside for students and fans to walk. The renovation to the outside even includes the GS logo on either side of the alumni/fan entrance.
A difference the students may have realized is the new location of the student entrance. Last season, the student entrance was on the front side of Hanner facing toward the parking lot.
There were separate doors, one for fans and one for students, where everyone could file in and find their seats. With the renovations, the student entrance moved toward the back of the building facing the campus. The entrance leads students directly to the student section.
“Students are our largest fan base,” Tracy Ham, associate director for internal affairs, said. “Changing the flow on how we get our students in and out of games, giving them multiple access points, was the driving force.”
The renovations inside of Hanner gives the facility a new vibe. The student section flipped to the opposite side of the court behind the team benches and all the season ticket holders are on the side facing toward the benches.
New LED lighting fixtures were installed to make lighting more cost-effective, and TV lights were placed to improve on-court lighting for games broadcasted on the ESPN and news networks. There is even a switch for board operators to use that instantly turn off all the lights and use lighting effects. The Eagles’ pre-game “Hanner Swag” routine uses these lighting effects.
The renovations for this facility did not come at a low price. According to Jeff Blythe, senior associate athletic director for business operations, the funding came from several sources including donors and the university.
The cost of the lights was roughly around $1 million, and that expense was taken care of by the school. The signage and branding outside of the facility cost around $200,000. Student athletic fees did not contribute to any of the funding.
“One of the goals for Tom Kleinlein when he got here, was to build the basketball brand and build basketball up to a national contender. That is why we have tried to put more tender love and care into Hanner. We are trying to build that as a recruiting base,” Blythe said.
Students and fans can look forward to more renovations to Hanner in the future. There have been no changes to the surface yet, but that is a change officials are working hard to achieve.