The Henrico County Sports and Events Center is now under roof

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Tom Lapass

Construction on the Henrico County Sports and Events Center at Virginia Center is progressing on schedule and the facility is now under roof. Officials are planning a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony in September before spending several weeks getting familiar with it. Some local or regional events are likely to take place before the end of the year, according to officials with the Henrico Sports and Entertainment Authority, which oversees the center. SEA will soon begin receiving bids from companies interested in managing the day-to-day operations of the facility.

On Tuesday, SEA Executive Director Dennis Bickmeier and members of his staff led top Henrico Schools officials, including Superintendent Amy Cashwell, on a brief tour of the center, which will serve as a Henrico County high school graduation site beginning in 2024. The entrance It will eventually be encased in glass, surrounded by decorative brick, and lead visitors into a lobby adjacent to a large cafe. Upon entering the facility’s expansive playing areas (which can be laid out as 12 basketball courts, 24 volleyball courts, or any number of combinations in between), to the right they’ll see the arena section in the center, where the reclining seats for more than 4,000 people will be available for major events, including graduations.

  • This area will eventually house a large cafe. (Tom Lapass/Henrico Citizen)

  • Spectators will be able to watch the action below from viewing areas on the second level. (Tom Lapass/Henrico Citizen)

  • The arena portion of the facility will have retractable seating for more than 4,000 people to host major events, such as championship games, concerts and high school graduations. (Tom Lapass/Henrico Citizen)

  • A construction worker works on a steel beam at the Henrico Sports and Events Center, Jan. 24, 2023. (Tom Lappas/Henrico Citizen)

  • Henrico Sports and Entertainment Authority Executive Director Dennis Bickmeier shows a master plan for the Virginia Center site, where the arena is covered, to a group of Henrico Schools officials, Jan. 24, 2023. (Tom Lappas/Henrico Citizen)

  • Henrico Sports and Entertainment Authority Executive Director Dennis Bickmeier (second from left) and other SEA and Henrico Schools officials view the arena portion of the Henrico County Sports and Event Center, Jan. 24, 2023. (Tom Lappas/Henrico Citizen)

  • A group of Henrico County and Henrico Schools officials tour the Henrico County Sports and Events Center, Jan. 24, 2023. (Tom Lapas/Henrico Citizen)

Left: more court space that officials will be able to segment as needed thanks to the use of mechanical walls that will slide in and out.

Along both sides of the long, straight facility, second-floor viewing areas will allow spectators to sit or stand and watch the action below. A total of four meeting rooms (some on each level) will provide event space, and locker and official rooms against the back wall of the facility will provide pre- and post-match gathering space. Overlooking the side of the arena is a designated area for broadcast crews and space for a suite-like area.

Henrico SEA representatives are already booking events for the facility, and Bickmeier told the Citizen that the strongest interest (perhaps predictably) has come from basketball and volleyball groups. But there is also significant demand from organizations that sponsor futsal (a soccer-like game played indoors on a hard surface). Three futsal tournaments have already been declared.

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