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Historical Milwaukee Panther Arena Gets Upgraded

Tiffany Scuglik

This week’s Tough Job is looking at a recent project we just completed downtown Milwaukee at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.  We were selected to refurbish the existing locker rooms.

The arena’s $6.3 million project was the largest investment that had been made since it was first built in 1950. Upgrades and improvements on the facility included new locker rooms, improved ice-making, major concession upgrades, and the replacement of lighting, scoreboards, and video.

The arena is home to UW-Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball team, the Milwaukee Admirals professional hockey team, the Milwaukee Wave professional indoor soccer team, and the Brewcity Bruisers women’s roller derby league.  The facility also hosts concerts, conventions, graduations, and other events throughout the year.

History of the Arena

The arena dates back to 1950. After World War II, America’s economy was booming and more buildings were being built, boosting the construction industry.  Spectator sports grew rapidly in the prosperous 1950s.  There were more professional sports, the number of franchises rose, and television enabled millions to watch live events.  This expansion was accompanied by the construction of arenas and stadiums by local governments to attract sports franchises.  This boom happened in Milwaukee and led to the construction of the arena called MECCA (Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena) at the time.  The new arena was one of the first built in the country.  The arena’s geometry included the interior “bowl”.  This feature remains to this day one of America’s most notable features.  The arena was one of the firsts to be designed to accommodate television broadcasting.

In 1977, national stardom came to the arena when a radical new basketball floor was revealed.  The floor was boldly colored designed by Robert Indiana.  Indiana is famously known for his design of the “Love” postage stamp.  Indiana applied bright, vibrant, and bold colors to the traditional markings.  This made the arena instantly unforgettable to millions of basketball fans.

Aside from sports, the arena has also hosted presidential speeches from Truman to Obama.  The arena really came to life when the music of rock n’ roll became popular and the arena had artists such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and many, many more perform!

Check out other athletic facilities we have been apart of!


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May 16, 2024