MINNEAPOLIS - Built in the late 1920s, Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota's campus has hosted dozens of big time contests. While the players have certainly changed over the years, the "Barn" really hasn't. At least not much.
"A lot of fans will always say Norwood, you guys need to bring back the atmosphere like it was when I was growing up," new Athletics Director Norwood Teague told KARE 11.
The life will be back in the building Thursday night when #5 Michigan comes to town. But in the coming months, Teague will address the aging facility itself. Boosters, fans and administrators agree something will need to be done in the coming years.
The University is currently conducting a facilities study to see what the needs are before saying what they'll do to address them.
Ryan Schmitt, a junior, hopes accessibility will be improved.
"Going to the bathroom is not quite fun and walking in the hallways...they're quite skinny," he said.
Schmitt was outside the Barn six hours prior to tip-off and he had a ticket to the student section in his wallet. He said there are several "obstructed view" seats in the student section and he didn't want to get stuck in one when Michigan came to town.
He was torn on what he thought the U should do with Williams. "I don't know what to do because I love the Barn but I understand where they're coming from, too, because you need to be able to recruit players. Players want to go to a school that has top-star facilities," he said.
It's a tough spot because fans love the feel and the vibe and the history held within the walls of the old Barn. Norwood Teague understands that.
"I hear a lot of comments about the Barn when I go out and talk to people. Don't mess with the Barn, don't touch the Barn and I agree. It's part of our history and our heritage," Teague concluded.
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