Construction on what is now known as Williams Arena was started in 1927 and completed in 1928, when it was dedicated as the University of Minnesota Field House. It cost $650,000 and initially had a seating capacity of 14,100 with bleacher and standing room expansion to 16,000. The original building housed basketball and winter football practice facilities. When the basketball season was completed, the portable floor was taken out and replaced by a pair of tennis courts and an indoor track.
The men's locker room, training room, weight facilities, spacious offices and team meeting rooms were updated. The locker room was named in honor of former Golden Gopher coach Ozzie Cowles through the more than $100,000 in gifts from many of his former players. The east end addition is highlighted by the Williams Arena Club on the third floor. The Club overlooks the floor and can hold parties of up to 200 fans, adding another touch of class to an already classy arena. The second phase of the renovation project was completed during the summer of 1993. It included the installation of theater-style seats, the widening of concourse areas and the addition of both concession areas and women's restrooms. A large portion of the renovation was financed by private gifts, including those to the successful $5.5 million sports-facilities campaign, and by the generous participation of fans through the assured-seating program. In the summer of 1997, 21 barn lofts above the second deck were built. The lofts offer a spectacular birds-eye view of the court with luxury amenities. The $2.3 million project added 304 seats to the capacity, raising it to 14,625. Most recently, with the emergence of Golden Gopher women's basketball, the program moved from the Sports Pavilion into Williams Arena to better support its increased fan base. Minnesota ranked fifth nationally in attendance during the 2004-05 season. Recent renovations for the women’s basketball program include a new locker room for the team and coaching staff, as well as a new athletic training facility and team room. During the summer of 2009, the original floor of the arena was replaced at a cost of approximately $600,000. The floor was extended as well and new baskets were purchased.
# of courts 1
Court Dimensions 94' X 50'
Floor Surface Wood
Seating capacity 14,625
Type of backboards Glass
Air conditioning No
Shot clocks Yes
Electronic Media Booth Yes
PA System Yes
Is the Facility publicly or privately owned? Privately
Who are the primary users of the facility? Universiity of MN Men's & Women's Basketball & Volleyball
Is the facility ADA compliant? Yes
Check out what other travelers say about Minneapolison TripAdvisor.