Volleyball fans to fill every CR Ice Arena seat - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Volleyball fans to fill every CR Ice Arena seat

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union picked the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena for the new site for the state volleyball championships this year, while the U.S. Cellular Center, which has hosted the tournament, undergoes renovations.

But the ice arena is a much smaller venue.  The U.S. Cellular Center seats 7,800 while the Ice Arena only holds a little more than 4,000 people.

It's hard to estimate just how many fans will show up to root on their school's volleyball team. That all depends on what teams qualify for state. But ice arena officials are confident they'll be able to comfortably seat the thousands of spectators.  They'll also be able to create an unforgettable environment for the athletes.

Scott Schoenike, the executive director of the ice arena and the U.S. Cellular Center says, "We convert the arena day to day to day.  Our staff is more than capable of doing multiple events as well."

The U.S. Cellular Center had hosted the tournament since 1991 but was forced to take the year off to remodel their facility.  Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is pleased the tournament will stay local. "It is good for Cedar Rapids in general.  People understand ripple effect, and it gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment."

The director of both arenas says even though the U.S. Cellular Center can seat twice as many people, there were often empty seats between groups of fans.  Having the tournament at the smaller venue will create a great environment for players.

Scott Schoenike says, "Fans will be closer to the action.  It's louder, and players will hear fans cheering and we'll have more fans at center court than at the U.S. Cellular Center.  The ice arena is only a few hundred seats short of last year's maximum session, so it may work just as well for everyone and for 75% it will be even better!"

The next few months will be full of planning and preparing, but one thing is for certain: they'll be setting and spiking in Cedar Rapids in November.

Mayor Ron Corbett says, "The construction schedule is the only challenge.  To stay on time, on budget so the events center gets done to get back to what we hope will be a permanent home for many years."

Online reporter: Molly Nichols

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