LOWELL — The next time you go to the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, expect to see some big changes.
A new, 18,000-pound video scoreboard now hangs over center ice.
Seventy padded, leather-backed seats will provide comfort for those who purchase premium tickets for hockey games or concerts.
The luxurious, new 4,800-square-foot Lowell Cooperative Bank Pavilion offers a prime view of the action, among comfortable seating, paneled walls and plasma televisions.
A new sound system equipped with 60 speakers is in place throughout the arena, along with cameras to feed images to the scoreboard.
And over at Rowdy's Roadhouse Café©, there will be authentic barbecue made on the premises, and other concessions will feature freshly made burritos, local favorite Sal's Pizza, the same all-beef hot dogs made famous at Fenway Park, and new additions to the beverage selection.
These changes and more will greet visitors at the Tsongas Center, which plans to wrap up renovations on the former Tsongas Arena by Oct. 22. UMass Lowell acquired the building from the city earlier this year.
"The building is going into its 13th year," said Director of Athletics Business Enterprises Peter Casey, who oversees the center's operations. "Although it's still in great shape, we decided it needed to be upgraded."
UMass Lowell's Division I hockey team will play its games at the facility, but the new Tsongas Center will also host many community events, including Bob Dylan on Saturday, Nov. 20; "Riverdance on Ice," featuring Lawrence native Scott Doherty on Saturday, Oct. 16; Grammy nominated rapper Drake on Tuesday, Oct. 26; and "Disney Live: Mickey's Magic Show!" on Sunday, Nov. 28.
"We're able to bring in many shows we weren't able to before because of the AHL team," said Casey, referring to the Lowell Devils, who relocated to New York over the summer, opening up 40 dates at the center for entertainment and community events. "It provides us with the opportunity to bring more people into the facility."