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Arena Opening Just Over Two Months Away

The head of construction for Louisville's new downtown arena says the project has presented some unique challenges. Bill Hedge is project manager for Mortensen Construction, which is building the 22,000 seat arena. He talked about those challenges during a media tour of the facility Thursday.This is the seventh arena project he's overseen. He says the facility's downtown location and relatively tight work area have made it an interesting job."Geez, all the public events that are held in downtown Louisville. I get notification every week from the mayor's office about special events, and they always want to have them concentric around the arena. The (Clark Memorial) bridge, Second Street, we are really building in a box canyon," he said.Hedge says the final permanent seats are being installed in the arena, now called the KFC Yum! Center, to be followed by furniture and fixtures in the club areas, including 450 flat-screen televisions.The new arena's primary tenants will be the University of Louisville basketball teams. It will be opened for public tours in October. The first event will be a concert by the Eagles on October 10.               (Photos, from top ---arena floor, view from the front concourse, another view of the arena floor, and the arena as seen from Main Street)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.