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Renovations underway at BMO Harris Bank Center

The BMO Harris Bank Center just embarked on a $16.5 million renovation, funded in part by the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan.
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A Rockford staple will look a bit different once renovations are complete over the next couple of years.

The first of two phases began last week with replacement of the ice floor, which will be done in time for the Rockford Icehogs season in a matter of months. Construction crews used wet saws to tear up the concrete below the ice, take out the insulation and piping, and drained the Glycol, a liquid that keeps the ice cool.

“Well it’s definitely going to be a whole new BMO,” said BMO Harris Bank Center General Manager Gretchen Gilmore. “The guest experience is definitely going to be enhanced.”

Additional upgrades during phase one include hand rails in the 200 level, an elevator upgrades, and premium seating in the old press box that will have a new bar and food options for fans.

“We’re really excited to welcome our guests back and have the excitement and the energy back into our venues,” said Gilmore. The Blue Flame Bar and Grill is going to open up into the area and have a ‘wow’ factor.”

Among the major wave of upgrades for the 40-year-old sports and entertainment venue is digital signage, a larger Jumtotron, and a renovated box office.

“When you walk in it looks like a place that was built in the late 70s early 80s because it is. Nothing as changed in that box office. Now to see it going to be totally renovated more family friendly and more experience driven I think is going to be great,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

McNamara says the multi-million dollar renovation, along with the hard rock casino and other changes, could make Rockford a hotspot for entertainment.

“We’re in for a great couple of years here of renewed hockey, renewed events and entertainment in our downtown area that will help small businesses... Restaurants but also the businesses helping to do the work on these renovations.”

Phase two will start next summer, which will focus on major construction upgrades such as a new scoreboard. WIFR reached out to the Chicago Blackhawks for a statement on the progress of the renovations, but haven’t received a response.

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