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Mini-Dome repairs prompt discussion about Freedom Hall

By Alex Barker
On April 27, 2014

The ETSU Buccaneers have played basketball for many years in the Mini-Dome on campus. However, the ETSU administration is now thinking that it could be time for a change, but they want to hear what students have to say first.
Sara Hacker, ETSU assistant athletics director for corporate development, and Tyler McCann, coordinator of ticket sales and fan experience, met with students last week to present the possibility of moving the basketball team to Freedom Hall, which is just a mile and a half off campus.
The Mini-Dome will undergo repairs during the 2014-15 season.
The Bucs started the experiment last season, when they played Stephen F Austin, Marshall and Samford at Freedom Hall. ETSU won all three of these games, including a win against the Lumberjacks, who only lost two games all year.
If it is decided that ETSU will play in Freedom Hall, this will open many opportunities for some of the other programs on campus, such as the tennis team. It will also allow for ETSU to have many more events, such as more concerts and events for the students or charitable organizations.
Freedom Hall has always had a partnership with Johnson City. It opened in 1974, and has hosted many sporting events such as Harlem Globetrotters games, and various concerts.
Freedom Hall is a facility that was built specifically for basketball, while the Mini-Dome was built in 1977 for football, back when ETSU had a team. Freedom Hall is much more accommodating to the students, making it easier to go to the bathroom or concession stands from the student section.
The chairs are seatback, and they offer a little over 1,100 seats for students each basketball game.
Tickets will still be free to students with their student ID. There will be a shuttle that will leave campus before every game for students that do not have a car.
The arena holds around 6,000 people for a basketball game. In the three games there that the Bucs played, the attendance reached about 2,500 people. McCann and Hacker said that they would like to get to the point that students will have to get their tickets in advance for these games, but that will probably not happen this upcoming season.
The Bucs improved last basketball season, making an appearance in the CBI Tournament, and look to get even better this year, as they are moving into a new and more prestigious conference. The atmosphere will be much louder and more energetic in a smaller arena that was built as a basketball facility.

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