Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Now that the hockey season is over, it’s almost construction season at Scottrade Center.

With the help of $65 million in funding from the city of St. Louis and $90 million of their own money, the St. Louis Blues will spend the next three summers renovating the 23-year-old facility.

“We’ve certainly got a busy off-season ahead,” says team President Chris Zimmerman.

Because of concerts and other events, the work won’t begin until the third week of June. It is scheduled to wrap up in mid-September, giving the team 10 weeks to finish the first phase.

“We’ll be getting things ready. In certain cases we’re ordering materials. With a small window each summer you have to be extraordinarily well-planned, and that’s what’s happening right now.”

Zimmerman says among the first jobs will be replacing the equipment that makes the ice, which is the original. “We’ll be ripping up the ice floor, the concrete, and putting in a whole new ice plant.”

Among the amenities fans will notice are a new videoboard, a new sound system and a state-of-the-art sports lighting system, replacing the current system that runs on Windows 95.

Renovations of the locker rooms and concourses are also on this summer’s to-do list.

“We’ll be redoing the locker rooms to get them up to NCAA specifications,” Zimmerman says. “I believe we’re going to get to renovating most every restroom and many of our concession stands, as well.”

The team will also be adding a new feature in the seating area. Eight suites will be removed from the end where the Blues shoot twice. They will be replaced with what Zimmerman calls “theater boxes.”

“There are small and mid-sized companies that want a really high-level entertainment opportunity, but don’t want a suite; they don’t need that many tickets. This is kind of that in-between product for them.”

Zimmerman says similar options have proven very popular in other arenas.

And that’s just this summer.

Next off-season, Zimmerman says, the Blues plan to upgrade the escalators and improve the elevators, including adding another bank. They’ll also change the main entrance to the building along Clark Street by expanding dining and retail options. An upgrade of the building’s security systems are also planned.

The team hopes to pay for those improvements with the $65 million included in a bill now pending in the Missouri Senate, which adjourns Friday.

“If we don’t get through this week,” Zimmerman says, “we’re going to find a way. Because these are elements that a 23-year-old building that’s had 35 million people through the door, these are things that need to get done.”

Zimmerman says whatever’s left will be done in the third summer.

“This plan is quite comprehensive,” he says. “I tell people that by the time we would finish, I believe about 90 percent of this building will be new and renovated.”

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