La Crosse Center welcomes fans for WIAA high school basketball

Local News

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A coulee region entertainment venue is welcoming spectators this week for a statewide basketball tournament. First News at Nine’s David LaClair shares how the La Crosse Center plans to keep those people safe.

The La Crosse Center is still finishing renovations that include its lobby, box office, conference rooms, and arena, but Director Art Fahey says he is happy to welcome customers back in their doors this week.

“We’ve recently got the building back to us as far as the arena and the north hall. We’re able to start using it as we go along and try to get everything taken care of, as far as we’re working with the pandemic,” said Fahey.

Bringing people back was key behind Fahey’s outreach to the w-i-a-a to host part of their state girls’ basketball tournament.

Kate Peterson Abiad, WIAA Assistant Director said, “Everything they’re doing there and just making it a beautiful facility, the people working there have just got a great handle on what we need.”

The tournament will be phased out over a 3-day period starting Thursday.

Abiad said, “We’re only bringing four teams into La Crosse on a single day.”

With a maximum of 1000 fans per game, the La Crosse Center looks forward to welcoming patrons from throughout the state of Wisconsin to the arena with proper social distancing measures in place.

Masks are also required on premises.

“We’ve got two separate entrances, we’ve got them exiting in two separate locations, we’ve got markings on the floor. All that will be there so folks can give as much distance as possible,” said Fahey.

Abiad said, “Typically, a team would play a semifinal game on Thursday and not play again ’til Friday or Saturday. It’s been recommended to us that we do not have overnight stays.”

However, the city Of La Crosse looks forward to the extra business.

Neal Zyarlicke, La Crosse Area Chamber Executive Director said, “It’s fantastic to be able to bring these people to La Crosse and have visitors here. It will be a boost for hotels, bars, and restaurants as well.”

Fahey said, “We’re doing it with the girls this weekend, and the boys come in next weekend.”

A move Fahey says he’s excited about in bringing the La Crosse Center back to life.

In La Crosse, David LaClair, First News at Nine.

Proper sanitation measures will take place between each round of the tournament, including continuous sanitation of locker rooms and public areas.

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