A couple weeks ago, the Wisconsin Center District and the Milwaukee Admirals officially kicked off work on $6.3 million in renovations and building upgrades at the UWM Panther Arena.
The main work behind the scenes is the construction on the lower level of new locker rooms for the Admirals, who return to the building. The team played at the Arena until the 1986-87 season, before moving to the then-new Bradley Center.
Among the other work on tap is the replacement of entire sections of seats in the bowl's uppermost reaches, along with painting work and lighting upgrades in the bowl. Other cosmetic enhancements are expected in some of the concourses.
Perhaps most exciting for history buffs is the removal of the tile in the main lobby to expose the original terrazzo floors, which will be restored. The Wisconsin Center District hopes to ultimately find the funding to do this work throughout the building.
The work is expected to be completed in early October, in plenty of time for the Admirals to kick off their 2016-17 home season on Saturday, Oct. 29. The first event slated for the refurbished venue is Flat Track Racing with Mama Tried on Oct. 7.
We've been popping in to check on the progress of the work, and here are a few photos.
Seat removal in progress last week
Seat removal complete
This week, the rows will be scrubbed and walls painted
Last week, the lower level floors were torn up, exposing cream city bricks from previous buildings on the site
Perhaps the bricks were from a chapel, which is roughly where the excavation was undertaken
This week, some openings remain, but most are now sealed
Last week, the former referee locker room was empty
This week, work has commenced
Walls are rising for the new Admirals locker room on the lower level
Stay tuned. We'll continue to go back and document the transformations.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.