Modernization highlighted as key element of La Crosse Center renovation

Open house Wednesday will unveil new features, including box office and terrace

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The $42 million renovation of the La Crosse Center is just about complete.

The transformation has been a long time coming.

“The arena itself needed a facelift,” La Crosse Center director Art Fahey said.

Talks began more than seven years ago on what the complex should look like in three decades, Fahey said.

“I think the key is modernization,” Fahey said. “You go 20 years, and things start looking dated. You have to keep up with it.”

And modernized it is.

“It’s a building that has got all of the things that we had before, and we’ve added more,” Fahey said.

Right as you walk in is a lobby with the box office, staircase and a view of downtown.

The arena bowl has updated seating.

Upstairs is not only a terrace staring at downtown, but also windows showing a crystal-clear view of the Mississippi River.

“When you start talking about coulees and the Mississippi River out your back door, there’s a lot of things that other communities can talk about, but they can’t talk about those kinds of things,” Fahey said.

The center’s makeover also means a new sense of excitement for the city.

The renovated arena will help attract more people downtown, said Terry Bauer, executive director of Downtown Mainstreet

“Anytime that people have options when they’re visiting a community, and more things to do and look at, that’s a plus for our community,” Bauer said. “And it benefits everybody.”

The arena itself did not get any bigger, but events are continuing to book up, Fahey said.

“You’ll start seeing the end results of it very soon,” Fahey said.

The entire Coulee Region can be proud of the project, he said.

“This is just not something that’s for the downtown, it’s for Western Wisconsin,” Fahey said.

The grand opening and open house of the renovated La Crosse Center will take place Wednesday, with featured speakers including Gov. Tony Evers..

The free open house will run from 4 to 7 p.m., with a program at 5 p.m.

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