The public will get its first look tonight (Tuesday) at the place where hundreds of young Iowans may likely dream of playing one day. The new Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines will become the home of the state wrestling, and boys and girls state basketball tournaments this year. Marketing director Holly Kjeldgaard says they’ll hold public tours tonight (Tuesday), and she expects people to be impressed. She says it has a lot of the “Wow” factor from the amount of restrooms and the quality of the concession food to the state-of-the- art video board. “Pretty much everything is unbelievable in this building,” she says.The arena is right next to Veterans Auditorium, which served as the home of state championships for decades. Vets remains, but will now be used for shows and other events now that the arena is becoming the main sports venue. Kjeldgaard says she thinks those who’ve attended events in vets will like the new building. “Well, I think the size will blow most people away. I think it’s a lot larger once you’re inside the arena,” Kjeldgaard says, “I think the people of Iowa are just going to be blown away by the whole deal.” Vets became affectionately known as “the Barn” by athletes and fans — but Kjeldgaard doesn’t think the new bigger, shinier building will make people long to go back. She says the way the seats are designed it’ll still be intimate. She says performers and athletes at the arena will feel like they’re in a “big time” facility. The arena will be open to the public tonight for the first time beginning with a ribbon cutting ceremony at six o’clock that includes Iowa’s Governor. The public tours run from six p.m. until 8:30 tonight. The 99-million dollar arena has over 14-thousand seats.
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