JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The dome may be done when it comes to ETSU basketball; ETSU athletic officials are looking to move the sport to a new venue.
"For years the dome has presented some challenges," says ETSU sports information director Michael White. "It is a multi-use facility and it is not a basketball arena."
Science Hill no longer uses Freedom Hall for basketball and some say moving ETSU there makes perfect sense. "[We are looking at] how to utilize what we have for the best ability for us. Looking at Freedom Hall made sense," says White.
Assistant city manager Charlie Stahl says no contract has been signed at this point, but he added the city is actively working with the university on the idea.
If the move happens, ETSU would play roughly 17 home games there in the upcoming season.
The two sides have identified some schedule conflicts with Freedom Hall. Stahl tells us they are looking into rescheduling those events
He says any major agreement would have to go before the city commission. "As the summer rolls on, we do need to make a decision," added White. "We've got season ticket holders and people who want to know where we are playing. I do think a decision is coming soon."
Both sides say they have a list of items they want met before finalizing the deal.
As a part of the talks, ETSU would retrofit some of the $750,000 worth of improvements made to the Mini-Dome to Freedom Hall, including new lights and scoreboards.
ETSU officials toured Freedom Hall Monday to determine if those features would work inside the smaller arena, which just happens to seat about the same number of people the Bucs attract to a home game.
If the Bucs move out of the Dome, what happens to that building? ETSU officials say it would likely continue to house physical education classes, as well as possibly become an indoor practice facility for the new football program.