ARLINGTON — It's hard to make a football stadium look like a basketball arena, but that's the goal of HKS, a Dallas-based architectural firm.
HKS is in charge of getting AT&T Stadium in Arlington ready to host the NCAA Men's Final Four on the weekend of April 5.
To do that, the company is basically building flooring on top of the existing seats in the lower bowl of AT&T Stadium. On top of that new flooring (which gradually gets higher the further away it gets from the court), they'll install thousands of chairs.
Mark Williams of HKS said the goal is to have good sight lines for everyone seated in the lower area.
In the past, stadiums hosting the Final Four would sometimes use large curtains hanging down from the ceiling to artificially make the stadium smaller. Williams said his company thought there had to be a better way to configure a stadium that is normally too big to host a basketball event.
They've done that at AT&T Stadium with their temporary seating.
It's nothing new. The stadium's configuration will be exactly like it was last year when it hosted the South Regional Final (the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games). When the work on AT&T Stadium is complete, it will be set up to hold 80,000-85,000 fans, which will make it the most-attended Final Four in history.
When the media was allowed to tour the stadium Wednesday afternoon, there was still a lot of work to do. The floor still has to be installed, and thousands of chairs needed to be removed from racks and set up.
But that will all be completed before the teams arrive in North Texas next week.