Pinnacle Bank Arena prepares for venue's first event - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Pinnacle Bank Arena prepares for venue's first event

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By: Kayla Bremer

UNL's summer graduation ceremonies are this weekend and arena officials say they're ready to go.

The West Haymarket area is buzzing with people looking at the nearly finished project.  The arena was officially turned over to the city this week and the 450 new part-time employees are getting settled and ready for the venue's first event.

"All in all, the building's in great shape," General Manager Tom Lorenz said.  "We're really happy.  We're finding little things that we need to tweak and work through, but technically we could do an event today and make it look terrific for the folks of Lincoln."

UNL's graduation ceremonies are this Friday and Saturday at the arena.

While thousands will flood the area, other businesses nearby are getting ready to open their doors too.

The signs of restaurants are going up, and the Canopy Street Lofts already have people moving in.

"You see them walking out, they're heading to restaurants, they're heading to laundry mats, they're bringing groceries back...I mean it's an exciting time just to be down here."

When the arena project began, thousands of new jobs were promised to the city.  A recent article from Nebraska Watchdog says so far, it's only produced 3,000 of the projected nearly 8,000 jobs.

Lorenz says it's too early to start throwing out numbers because so much is still being developed.

"Right now I would say we are ahead of the curve because there's construction jobs happening, there's some businesses that are moving in probably a lot earlier than any of us thought so I would say that we're doing very, very well."

Anyone planning on attending the graduation ceremony can park on campus for free and take a shuttle or paid parking will be available in the two garages on Pinnacle Arena Drive.

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