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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEWORLEANS-- Construction crews at the Smoothie King Center have a lot to do between now and the start of the next basketball season.

Phase two of the New Orleans Pelicans $50 million arena renovations is now underway. The new grand entrance is beginning to take shape.

'We are expanding the footprint of the Smoothie King Center by building out a new entry lobby, a new grand entry lobby, that's going to be about 18,000 square feet,' said arena general manager Alan Freeman. 'The primary entrances for the building will be shifted more toward the east. It will not necessarily be on Girard Street or Dave Dixon Drive, but more facing Champion Square and the CBD.'

The work is part of the overall concept of re-branding and re-imaging the arena itself. The state promised the improvements as part of a long-term lease agreement with the Pelicans new owner Tom Benson.

'We're going to be adding a lot of space with that lobby, a lot more entry doors and ticket windows are going to be moved to that side of the building also, so it's going to make it that's much more convenient for the fans,' said Freeman.

As part of the exterior renovation, crews will repaint the Smoothie King Center.

The new color will not be the old sea foam green many people compared to bad bathroom tile. Wednesday, arena managers spent some time discussing the new, yet to be determined color scheme.

'We have a range that we're going for, and one of things other than just the plain color itself, we're doing a lot of motional and LED lighting to the exterior of the building, so we're trying to select a color that best gives that improvement the best chance to shine,' said capital projects manager Pat Tobler.

'No matter what color we do, some people will love it and some people will wonder why we didn't do a different color,' said LSED Chairman Ron Forman. 'We'll do the very best we can do and we have experts recommending (colors) to us.'

Interior renovations include a new sports bar and terrazzo flooring throughout the entire first floor.

So what color would you pick for the Smoothie King Center? Join the conversation on our WWL-TV Facebook page.

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