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Dean Smith Center (Dean Dome)

Tyler Smith - 01/30/12

The Dean Smith Center is a 22,750 on campus arena. The arena is located off of Skipper Bowles Dr. in the southern part of the campus. The arena is also known as the Dean Dome, has all chair-back seating which is nice for fans. All the seats are Tar Heel blue. The upper deck seat colors look a little different than the others. This could be because of an update to the seats in the lower level. The lower level and the first 4 rows in the upper deck have cushioned seats. 2 levels make up the dean dome. 1 concourse serves both levels which makes it easy to navigate. A cool feature of the Dean Dome is the dome top. This is the first arena I have seen that has a dome top. The dome doesn't cover the whole roof.

The arena has 4 entrances, each are large and provide quick access to the arena. The Arena has 4 large video boards, which are located at each corner. Two 50 foot long ribbon scoreboards are on the face of the upper deck.

The court has a classic look. At center court is the outline of the state of North Carolina, filled in with Carolina blue. On the four corners of the floor they have the Tar Heel foot logo. The baseline is outlined in Carolina blue and says Carolina at one side and Tar Heels at the other.

Overview

Arena: Overall I do like the Dean Dome. I love that the arena incorporates the team colors. It surprises me when schools don't use their colors in their facilities. The seats differ in color from the lower level to the top level. I’m assuming because the lower level seats are newer than the upper level seating. The concourse was nice and easy to navigate. The sounds system also sounded clear which does not happen at all arenas.I like the dome top because, it adds something unique to the arena. My favorite thing about the arena are the banners hanging from the rafters.

Scoreboard: I like the 4 video boards and their locations. They were big and did not take away from seating nor did they obstruct the view for fans. The ribbon scoreboards on the front of the upper deck worked well in the arena.

Atmosphere: The atmosphere was slightly above average. I would not say it was a "wine and cheese crowd" as many others have referred to it as. The game was against Boston College, an opponent that would not bring the best out of many fans at any ACC school this year. I can only give the rating on what I see and hear though.

I have heard much discussion about the student section and the want to expand it. As of now they have two locations behind the basket and by the band. I don't see the students ever being all the way around the floor. The first reason is, the arena seating is not set up for this type of seating. Most arenas that have students stand around the floor have a set of rows then a break that rises a few feet higher, this allows for others that are sitting behind them to see. The only solution I have is to allow students to stand at the opposite side of the other students. Section 100, this way it is not taking from many donors and giving back the seats by the band. At the end of the day it’s not up to me it is up to the donors, since they did fund the venue. Even with the current seating arrangement the Dean Dome still has the capability to blow the top off. I will return to the Dean Dome vs. a better opponent and maybe then the atmosphere rating will rise.

Campus: My favorite section of campus is between Franklin Street and Raleigh Road. The Old Well is located here as well as the bell tower. Most of the buildings are renovated, but keep their charm. I love the location of Kenan Stadium, located in the heart of the campus. Most of the campus has brick sidewalks which really unites the whole campus. The campus is well maintained and very clean. Overall one of my favorite campuses I visited.

Chapel Hill: The city is a college town. The best part of the city is Franklin Street. The street has several shops and restaurants. It has a very live atmosphere and always seems to have people walking up and down the street.

Basketball Museum: The 8,000 square foot museum pays tribute to all of the great UNC accomplishments. The museum starts with a video, and then leads you into the museum. The museum highlights all the Final Four, ACC Championships, and National Championships. The museum is free of charge. I was very impressed with the museum. The best on campus museum I have been to yet. One of my favorite parts of the museum was the NBA Draft board featuring the first round draft picks from UNC. The museums hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Saturday, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on game days it is usually open till one hour before tipoff.

Game Day Activities

  1. Start your day by walking around UNC's beautiful campus. While walking around campus there are a few things you should see. Starting with the UNC Bell Tower one of the oldest structures on campus. The Carolina Inn is beautiful and one of the few hotels in Chapel Hill and it’s on campus. The Old Well located near the bell tower, is the visual symbol for the university.
  2. Head down Raleigh Street, Carmichael arena is located on your right. This arena was home to many UNC greats such as, Jordan and Worthy. This is also where the women’s basketball museum is located. Also, many people suggested checking out the grave yard located right across the street.
  3. Make your way back to Franklin St. and catch a bite to eat. I suggest eating at Italian Pizzeria 3. Great Italian pizza and nice game day environment. If pizza isn't your thing, Franklin Street has many other options such as Top of the Hill, Spankys, Crook's Corner, or Elaine's.
  4. Walk over to Kenan Stadium and check out the football facility. It was open when I visited, walk in and check it out. They also have a football museum in the Kenan Football Center. Now head to the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center were you will find the UNC basketball museum. The museum is a must see for all UNC fans. Here you will see all the National Championship trophies, tributes to UNC legends, Tar Heel 1st round NBA draft picks, and much more. Visit the UNC Basketball Museum website.
  5. What are you waiting for head to the Dean Dome!

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Stray Info

  1. X-Factor Basis: Basketball Museum