The University of Missouri allowed a group of local media the opportunity to tour the Paige Sports Arena on Wednesday and announced that the construction of the 15,000-seat building is on schedule. The arena is expected to open in October and will be ready for the 2004-2005 MU basketball season. The P.S.A. will be much more wide-open than the Hearnes Center, which served as the Tigers’ home beginning in 1972. The concourses at Hearnes were between 18-19 feet wide. The Paige Sports Arena will feature concourses which are 30-feet wide. The ceilings, which will be 18-feet high are taller than the Hearnes Center which featured 12-feet high ceilings. Director of Athletics Mike Alden believes that the Paige Sports Arena will be “the finest on-campus facility in the country.” He also added, “As we move towards opening the facility certainly it gets more and more exciting. And it’s certainly also something we step back away from and its hard to describe other than the term ‘Wow’.” One concern football fans and basketball fans have is the loss of about 1,000 parking spaces when construction began. Those spots will be replaced using fill from the construction before the basketball season begins. 9,200 season tickets have already been sold, which is almost 2,000 more than were sold at the Hearnes Center last season. The student section will be 3,000 seats in one section behind the west goal. Natural light will also play a part during day games, as opaque windows near the top of the structure will filter in sunlight. Eric Morrisson, Director of External Operations said, “We wanted this to be like an old field house with some new age stuff in it, as well.”