The long-anticipated opportunity for Hope basketball fans to experience the new Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College will be sooner than thought.

College officials announced Tuesday they have received the necessary temporary occupancy permits to use the fieldhouse for the annual Meet the Dutch/Dutchmen pre-season basketball activities this Friday, Nov. 11.

The event, open to the public free of charge, will begin at 6 p.m. with the women's basketball team concluding its first practice in the new $22 million facility, followed at approximately 6:30 p.m. by a men's basketball scrimmage between the Flying Dutchmen and the Berghorst Allstars.

The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.  Fans are asked to enter through the doors on the east (Fairbanks)  side of the building. All seats will be general admission.

Parts of the building that remain under construction will not be accessible.  Some services such as the concession stands will not be operating.  Not all of the arena parking lots will be completed.

"The building remains in a state of preparation for the season opener on Saturday, Nov. 19, but we felt it necessary to have Meet the Dutch/Dutchmen there as much for our support staff as the players and coaches," said Dr. Richard Ray, chair of the department of kinesiology.  "This is a whole new venture for us and there are a lot of wrinkles that we'd like to iron-out before the 19th.  We felt game-like conditions like we'll have this Friday were a perfect way to become better prepared."

The official opening on November 19th is already a pre-game sellout with more than 3,200 fans expected for the women's and men's doubleheader.

College officials said tickets were mailed to season ticket holders earlier this week.  The college sold all of the allotment of 1,275 season tickets for the 05-06 season.