The renovation of Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine, has transformed this 1970s community asset for those with disabilities. Prior to the renovation of the former Cumberland County Civic Center, all main entrances had multiple stairs, relegating patrons with disabilities to separate backdoor entrances.
Inside the arena, wheelchair seating was severely limited, and what existed had poor lines of sight. For anyone with mobility challenges, negotiating the arena steps was dicey, as there were no aisle handrails. Back of house, none of the locker rooms were accessible, and the event level ramps were too steep for easy use.
To create accessible ground-level entrances, the design team expanded and regraded three corners of the building, adding step-free access, with automatic doors, escalator, elevators, and low box office counters at the new entrances. These expansions added 37,000 SF of space on the tight urban footprint. They were also used to create a second-story pavilion overlooking the Old Port, club room, and new merchandise sales area.
Inside the arena bowl, the design incorporates seven new wheelchair seating areas, each accommodating up to 10 people. These platforms allow a ticketholder requiring a wheelchair, scooter, or other special seating choices with excellent vantage points, along with adjacent seating for companions.
Other improvements include refurbishment of 5,770 seats, handrails installed in each aisle, upgraded concourse with accessible concessions, six premium suites with accessible private kitchens and restrooms, four new ice-level club seating areas, accessible press box and media control booths, and locker rooms. The renovation also expanded loading dock capacity, included substantial mechanical and electrical upgrades, and more than doubled the number of restroom facilities; including family restrooms.
These improvements have allowed Cross Insurance Arena to attract and accommodate larger shows and events, while offering everyone safer and equal access to Portland’s premier sports and entertainment venue.
Principal-in-Charge: Robert M. Frank III, PE - Civil Engineer: A. Ray Bolduc, PE - Landscape Architect: Paul Brody, RLA - Structural Engineer: John Poulin, PE - Interior Designer: Jenifer Richard, CID - Mechanical Engineer: Daniel Monroe, PE - Electrical Engineer: Stephanie Laplant, PE
Sink Combs Dethlefs, Arena Design Consultant - FP&C Consultants, Code Consultant - Canfield Systems, Audio Visual Consultant - Sparhawk, Commissioning agent - Duray, Food Service Consultant - Lowell Specifications - Shyka, Sheppard & Garster, Surveyors - S.W. Cole Engineering, Construction Testing -- SUBCONTRACTORS: - Shaw Brothers - Maine Masonry - NS Giles - ARC Erecting - Maine Steel - Johnson & Jordan - Eastern Fire Protection - ES Boulos - IRC Roofing - Hussey Seating - Zimba Company - Hardware Consultants