Upgrades for Dubuque's "Five Flags Center"

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The city of Dubuque is weighing some options for the future of the Five Flags Civic Center. It's an aging building that costs the city nearly $900,000 a year.

The Five Flags Civic Center in Dubuque. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)

The city hired a consulting firm to assess the center and consider options for the future.

The study found that people in Dubuque want an arena like the Five Flags. It also found the center's current location is perfect because it's near hotels and night life.

The firm believes the city has four options, including maintaining the building as is, limited renovations, an arena expansion or building new.

General Manager HR Cook believes building new is the best option.

"To merely just add a room on it, you still have those added costs of maintenance because you still have the pipes, the walls, the insulation and everything from 1977," he said. "You're starting fresh and it's now the industry standard. You are now ahead of those other cities who built arenas a couple years ago, so you're now leaps ahead of them."

The consultant suggested many changes that would help the center bring in more money. That included increasing seating to 6,000-8,000 seats, enhancing the patron experience with certain luxuries and updating the back of house.

The consultant warned that doing nothing but maintaining the building would continue to cost the city.

The city council will review the study at a work session on Monday, May 14. A public input session will be held at the Five Flags Civic Center on Wednesday, May 16 at 6:30 in the Majestic Room.