ITHACA, NY — Ithaca College has opened its newest — and largest — building, the 177,000-square-foot Athletics and Events Center. Two years in construction and decades in the imagining, the facility offers student-athletes an unparalleled athletic experience and the campus and greater Ithaca communities an expansive, modern space for events of all kinds.
Designed by the architectural firm Moody-Nolan, the $65.5 million project features a field house and aquatics pavilion in the main building, which also houses athletic training and strength training facilities, a “wet” classroom for athletic and academic programs, a hall of fame display, a press box, athletics offices, team rooms and locker rooms. An adjacent outdoor stadium with lighted turf field and an outdoor tennis facility round out the complex.
The formal dedication took place on October 15 as part of Ithaca College’s alumni weekend. Speakers included Tom Rochon, president of Ithaca College; Peggy R. Williams, president emerita; Mike Serventi ’72, chairman of the national fund-raising committee; Bill Schwab ’68, chairman of the board of trustees; and Caroleen Feeney ’86, trustee and associate of Atlantic Philanthropies, a major donor to the project.
In his remarks at the opening celebration, Rochon noted the distinctiveness of the new center.
“We gather to celebrate one of the most daring and ambitious accomplishments our campus has ever seen: the creation of an athletics and events complex that will do nothing less than restructure the physical face of our institution, and the caliber of educational experiences that our students will find here,” said Rochon.
Williams, who was president when fund-raising for the project began in 2006, said the building gives the college a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting students.
“Participation in sports builds character, strength and leadership, all qualities that distinguish individuals — and institutions,” said Williams. “The A&E Center will enable Ithaca College to continue its leadership in Division III athletics, while providing high-quality opportunities for competition to students who also participate in recreational or club sports.”
The building’s seating and floor space will be used for campus and community events that draw large audiences, such as convocation ceremonies, conferences, trade shows, concerts and major lectures. The center also offers innovative opportunities to form active-learning partnerships with Ithaca College’s academic programs, such as athletic training, therapeutic recreation, physical therapy, recreation management, sport media and broadcasting.
The college began putting plans in place for an all-purpose center in 1997 but has had a new field house on its “wish list” for many years. The primary athletic facilities in Hill Center date back to the 1960s, when enrollment was half of its current size. To fund construction, the college raised $52.5 million in private gifts — a record amount — from over 2,800 supporters. The college itself contributed $13 million for site preparation, with the groundbreaking taking place in June of 2009.
In keeping with Ithaca College’s commitment to environmental stewardship, fiscal accountability and community responsibility, the A&E Center was sustainably designed, incorporating elements that maximize resource efficiency and minimize environmental impact, both in its construction and throughout its operational lifetime. The campus is already home to two recently constructed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum buildings, and the center was designed to meet at least LEED silver standards.
The building’s signature tower is more than just an architectural feature — it functions to provide natural cooling and ventilation to the large space. Additional sustainable aspects include strategically placed windows for natural lighting, a reflective roof to minimize cooling requirements, an exhaust system with energy recovery, environmentally friendly refrigerant and low-emitting materials to ensure indoor air quality. Many of the building materials used in construction were native to the region.
For more information, visit www.ithaca.edu/aecenter.