Bon Secours Wellness Arena
|Location||650 North Academy Street
Greenville, SC 29601
|Owner||Greenville Arena District|
|Operator||Greenville Arena District|
Concert (Center Stage): 15,951
Concert (End Stage): 11,000-14,000
|Broke ground||March 7, 1996|
|Opened||September 3, 1998|
|Construction cost||$63 million
($91.2 million in 2014 dollars)
|Project manager||International Facilities Group, LLC.|
|Structural engineer||Geiger Engineers PC|
|General contractor||Fluor Daniel|
|Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL) (2010–present)
Greenville Force (SIFL) (2009–2010)
Greenville Grrrowl (ECHL) (1998–2006)
Carolina Rhinos (AF2) (2000–2002)
Greenville Groove (NBDL) (2001–2003)
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena (formerly the Bi-Lo Center) is an arena located in downtown Greenville, South Carolina that is used for concerts, football, and hockey. The arena is currently used by the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL.
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena was built in 1998, under the name of the Bi-Lo Center, at a cost of US$63 million to replace Greenville's outdated and under-repaired Greenville Memorial Auditorium, which was imploded on a site located across the street from the new arena on September 20, 1997. The arena naming rights were purchased by Dutch grocer Ahold, then-owner of BI-LO, which had been founded in nearby Mauldin and was still based there at the time. When it was built, it passed Columbia's Carolina Coliseum as the largest arena in the state of South Carolina, a distinction it held until 2002, when the Colonial Center was built in Columbia.
As a concert venue, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena can seat between 11,000 and 15,951 spectators, depending on the positioning of the stage. The arena features 30 luxury suites and 840 club seats.
The arena floor measures 113 feet (34 m) wide by 229 feet (70 m) long. There are 7,472 seats in the upper bowl and 4,809 permanent seats and 1,290 retractable seats in the lower bowl.
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena hosted the Southern Conference men's basketball tournaments in 2000 and 2001 as well first and second round games during the 2002 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. However, the NCAA has since implemented a policy to not hold tournament games in either South Carolina or Mississippi, following a recommendation from the NAACP that was intended to call attention to the Confederate flag on display next to a monument on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. As a result, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena has not hosted an NCAA Tournament game since 2002. College basketball made its return to Greenville in 2005, when the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament was played at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, in an emergency situation which turned futile. The Philips Arena in Atlanta was the scheduled site for the tournament, but backed out in the summer of 2004 because of logistics following plans for the 54th NHL All-Star Game which was to be held just six weeks before the 2005 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament. Once the plans were announced, the SEC had moved that tournament to Greenville, with considerable protest from the NAACP. Even with the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the SEC kept the tournament in Greenville, which is 140 miles (230 km) east of Atlanta.
The arena has also served as the home for the Greenville Groove (2001–2003), one of the original members of the NBA Development League, as well as the Carolina Rhinos football team (2000–2002), one of the inaugural members of AF2, the Arena Football League's minor league, as well as both versions of Greenville's team in the ECHL, the first, the Grrrowl (1998–2006), hosting the 2002 Kelly Cup Finals, and the second, the Greenville Road Warriors.
Currently, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena also regularly hosts a wide variety of events such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, professional wrestling, monster truck rallies, motocross racing, professional ice skating, such as the Champions on Ice, and ice dancing shows and competitions, dog shows and concerts spanning many different musical genres.
Normally, the South Carolina High School League Upper State basketball finals would be held in the arena, but it was moved to Littlejohn Coliseum because of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic weigh-in ceremonies, and therefore was held at the Bi-Lo Center.
On February 14, 2010, Johnstown Chiefs, of the ECHL, announced that the team would be moving to Greenville, SC, from Johnstown, PA, for the 2010-2011 season and had signed a 5 year deal to play at the Bi-Lo Center. This ends a 5 year hockey drought in Greenville, after the Grrowl of the ECHL folded. Greenville has a rich minor league hockey history, with the Grrowl winning the Kelley Cup in 2002.
On September 18th, 2013, the Bi-Lo Center was officially renamed the Bon Secours Wellness Arena after the Bon Secours Health System, owner of St. Francis Health System in Greenville, bought the naming rights.
In February 2011, a woman attending a circus performance at the Bi-Lo Center abandoned a baby she delivered herself in an arena toilet. Jessica Blackham was arrested and charged with two counts of felony child abuse and one count of child neglect. The infant was given a positive prognosis.
- "Bi-Lo Center Breaking Ground Today in Downtown Greenville". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. March 7, 1996. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- "Bi-Lo Center". International Facilities Group. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Findlay, Prentiss (September 3, 1998). "On the Town". The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Associated Press (September 21, 1997). "Greenville Memorial Auditorium Is History". The State (Greenville, SC). Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- "Chiefs Seeking Relocation for 2010-11". Johnstown Chiefs. February 14, 2010. Archived from the original on January 27, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- Byrum, John (January 25, 2012). "Jason Aldean's Bi-Lo Center Gig Sets Record". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- Associated Press (February 10, 2011). "Mom: Woman Who Left Baby In Toilet Can't Remember". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- Shackleford, Lynne P. (February 8, 2011). "Condition of Newborn Found in Toilet at Bi-Lo Center Improves". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
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