The NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball and ice hockey teams at Quinnipiac University got a boost with the TD Banknorth Sports Center, the first building constructed on the grounds of the institution's new York Hill campus, which will eventually evolve into an area for living, learning, exercising, and eating.
FUNCTION: Athletic facility with arenas for basketball and hockey, training rooms, club room, administrative and team offices, and meeting space.
CHALLENGES: The campus gym that basketball players and fans had called home since 1969 had been adequate for a Division II program. But as Quinnipiac athletics made the leap to Division I, it become clear that the gym was no longer suitable, says Jack McDonald, director of Athletics and Recreation. A local ice pavilion, which hockey players had been using, had adequate space; when the university got accepted into the Eastern College Athletic Conference, however, building its own campus facility became a requirement.
SOLUTIONS: With the new 180,000-square-foot sports center, basketball and hockey games have become much more dynamic, with the stands filled by not just those connected to the university but the public as well. While the institution could have built a single-arena facility with a basketball court atop an ice rink, that didn't make sense, McDonald explains. "You'd have to take the basketball court down to prepare for ice hockey games," leaving one team without a practice space.
So two arenas were designed, the basketball one seating 3,570 and the hockey one seating 3,286. The design made possible a triple-header on opening day-men's and women's basketball games in the afternoon, followed by women's ice hockey that night. The arenas are connected by a three-story structure with the common lobby and box office, a club room, and offices. From inside, visitors can gaze out over both downtown New Haven and the waters of Long Island Sound.
Joseph Rubertone, associate vice president for Facilities Administration, says the spaciousness of the arena impresses him most, and the individual seats, with backs and cupholders, boost comfort levels. McDonald says the center "fulfills a dream we've had since going Division I. ... The compliments have been nonstop."
Kudos come not only from the university community and public, but from prospective students and families who are eager to see the center, notes Joan Isaac Mohr, vice president and dean of admissions. "Our current students are already active in spreading the word about what an amazing complex it is." The center, she adds, "has generated enormous interest in our sports programs and enhanced our school spirit and enthusiasm." As one recent guest commented, "It's like being at Madison Square Garden."
PROJECT COST: $52 million
OPENED: January 2007
PROJECT TEAM: Centerbrook Architects (Conn.), Providence, R.I.-based Dimeo Construction (construction manager), The Pegasus Group of St. Paul, Minn. (owners' representative) -M.E.