A Tower, Four Walls and a Purpose: Ithaca College's Athletics and Events Center is a Cornerstone for the Community

ITHACA, NY — Decades in the planning and two years to build, Ithaca College’s Athletics and Events Center is common ground for accomplished singers, fledgling broadcasters, varsity athletes, serious students and regional visitors. Since the Center officially opened in October 2011, a two-time national pentathlon champion used its facilities to refine her technique; coed volleyball teams enjoyed intramural competition; staff members jogged and swam laps on their lunch hours; music lovers took in a concert; and students learned athletic training techniques, treated patients from the community with aquatic physical therapy and developed communications skills by broadcasting games and meets.

The highlights of the Center’s first six months have been captured in a two-minute video which can be viewed here: The video shows how the Athletics and Events Center has opened its doors to not only the campus community, but to Tompkins County and beyond.

“Ithaca College’s new Athletics and Events Center has been a significant addition to our community,” said Fred Bonn, director of the Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Its ability to host large swim meets and indoor track events means that we will be hosting thousands of athletes and their families for tournaments and competitions. It’s exciting to see these spectators, many of whom may never have been here before, enjoy their stay and boost our local economy by shopping, eating and staying at hotels and bed and breakfasts.” Referencing a 2010 study by Chmura Economics and Analytics profiling travelers in Tompkins County which estimated travelers staying overnight spend on average $335 per person per day, Bonn noted that “an event that attracts 450 out-of-town spectators for two nights can generate over $301,000 in local economic activity.”

Since last October, an estimated 15,000 visitors — half the nonstudent population of Ithaca — have taken part in or watched an event at the Center. By the time it celebrates the first anniversary of its opening in the fall, the Center is expected to double that number by having hosted:

  • The 2012 Commencement for Ithaca High School
  • The New York State Association of College Admissions Counselors Conference
  • The New York State Public High School Women’s State Swimming and Diving Championship
  • Men’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association Championships

Since its opening, the Center has hosted:

  • A gala dinner and concert for 900 guests
  • The Greater Ithaca Activities Center “All Sports Day”
  • A concert by several a cappella ensembles
  • Several Ithaca College Open House Events
  • Six Section 4 high school track and field meets, open to some 72 southern Tier high schools
  • The Ithaca Wrestling Invitational
  • Empire 8 Indoor Track and Field Championships
  • Ithaca College Swimming and Diving Invitational
  • The Ithaca College Track and Field Bomber Invitational

In additional to its human benefits, the Center is also easy on the environment. Designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver standards, the building includes strategically placed windows for natural lighting, a reflective roof to minimize cooling requirements and low-emitting materials to ensure indoor air quality. The Center’s distinctive tower provides natural cooling and ventilation to the building’s 177,000 square feet of interior space.

Originally published in IC News: A Tower, Four Walls and a Purpose: Ithaca College's Athletics and Events Center is a Cornerstone for the Community.