If you are a woman, and you have been to a Comets game at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, you have probably experienced one of the biggest frustrations out there – a long, never-ending bathroom line. The AUD, constructed over 60 years ago in 1959, contains only two sets of women’s restrooms, with nine stalls between the two – not equipped to handle the volume of women who frequent the building. The typical crowd for a Comets game is almost 50% female – equating to just under 2,000 women attempting to use just nine stalls over a four-hour period. It is safe to say that the problem has added congestion to the inner concourse and immense frustration for both patrons and Comets staff. The good news is that come November, the problem will be no more.
Currently in progress, the West End Expansion Project will add an additional restroom to The AUD, containing 13 new stalls and immensely helping the building’s biggest problem to date. The restroom will be centrally located and over double the size of the current restrooms, while over doubling the number of total stalls in The AUD. While restrooms may not seem like a monumental problem, it was the focal point of conversations between the AUD Authority and CEO of MVG Robert Esche’s mind on how to put the project together.
“The lack of women’s restrooms in The AUD has been one of the biggest frustrations over the past four years for me,” Esche explained. “Adding the large-scale restroom to the 21,000 square-foot addition will alleviate much of the crowding in the concourse, especially during intermissions, while providing our women patrons with a more comfortable and hassle-free experience for Comets games as well as concerts and other events. The AUD Authority and I are very much looking forward to rectifying the issue and continuing to improve the quality of our fan experience.”
The Expansion Project, which is due to be completed by the end of October, will also feature ADA-compliant upgrades to the building, new office space, and executive suites and loge seating. Each suite will also feature its own bathroom, with the loge seating area containing two. One of the main goals of the project is to enhance and ease the game day experience for Comets fans, while providing them with additional options for seating.
Once The AUD reopens for fans on opening night on November 1, women will no longer have to worry about missing the action on the ice – they can instead focus on enjoying and experiencing all that the Utica Comets have to offer.