There are two things Joe Battista feels mark the construction point of the Pegula Ice Arena: the formation of both the main and community rink, and the fact that it looks like an arena.
The Penn State Associate Athletic Director for Ice Arena and Hockey Development has long been the leader of the Nittany Lion charge to Division I hockey, and with that out of the way after its first season at the highest collegiate level in 2012-2013, the focus is now squarely on the mission to finish the multimillion dollar, 6,000 seat arena.
And it is right on track. As of April 19, the concrete for both the main and community rink surfaces has been poured, and all main area seating installed. Battista says the structure built by Mortenson Construction with the backing of Penn State alum Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, to the tune of over $88 million is still on schedule.
"We're looking very good to have it done by the beginning of September when it's due to be turned over," Battista said in a phone interview with PennLive Friday.
"It gives us a few weeks to workout all the kinks, and bring it up online slowly but surely. We are planning a soft opening for late September, before the first varsity game Oct. 11 against Army."
The home opener comes during Penn State's Homecoming weekend, putting the Lions in action the night before the football program hosts Michigan at Beaver Stadium in the annual Homecoming game. It is possible that the hockey game will be televised, but those plans are still being finalized.
Battista says the program wanted to "make a splash" with the scheduled opener, but also admits it will be a busy weekend. The coming weeks and months will be quite busy, too.