Stony Brook Arena is almost here. Last Wednesday, Athletics welcomed members of the media in to view progress on the arena that is scheduled to open in August of 2014.
The 4008-seat venue has completed phase one of a two-phase construction process that included the destruction of the old arena, a new floor, all new stands, seats and luxury suites for corporate sponsors according to Associate Athletics Director for Facility Operations and Events Todd Phelps.
Phase two, which will begin later on this month, will include the destruction of the north wall of the arena to build a court-length concourse with additional food options and bathrooms. Phase two is expected to take eight months, which will put the completion right on pace with the original expectations of August 2014.
Men’s Basketball head coach Steve Pikiell spoke enthusiastically about the progress on the new arena during media day last Wednesday. “It’s really exciting to me having all the new recruits coming in to see the arena, because they’re going to play their whole career in it. It’s going to bring a lot of fans in, new and old, and it’s going to be a place the whole community can enjoy.”
Pikiell also unofficially announced last Wednesday that he has finished recruiting for this upcoming year and all scholarships for the class of 2018 have been secured. Pikiell and Women’s Basketball head coach Beth O’Boyle both alluded to the fact that the arena had a lot to do with the recent success in recruiting.
Sophomore point guard Carson “Tre” Puriefoy commented on the impact the arena had on his recruitment as well. “It’s always been my dream since I was a kid to play in a big arena in front of thousands of fans. It’s going to be great to play my junior and senior year here.”
But will the Seawolves be able to fill the 4000-seat arena on a consistent basis? Early indications say there is a good chance they will. According to Assistant Athletics Director for Communications Thomas Chen, the 2013-2014 Men’s season ticket package has already been sold out and there is a waiting list of people ready to purchase tickets as well. A sold out Pritchard Gymnasium (capacity of 1600 fans) does not necessarily mean that Stony Brook Arena will also sell out, but it does show the kind of demand that is surrounding the basketball program.
For the students, athletics has promised the new arena will house concerts and shows throughout the year in addition to its sporting events. Also, the arena will be home to graduation and job fairs. For the community, the new arena will also host several high school events such as graduations and county tournaments for varsity teams.
The countdown to the ribbon cutting has begun. Todd Phelps says they plan to open the arena with a concert in the fall of 2014 in conjunction with the Undergraduate Student Government.