Fans of Stony Brook athletics can say goodbye to the intimate confines of the 1,700-seat Pritchard Gymnasium. The Seawolves are heading back to Stony Brook Arena, and this time, what was a gym with wooden benches contributing to a high school aura will present professional appeal for all to see, starting with the Harlem Globetrotters on Oct. 4.
There will no longer be a visible track enticing guests to start a run or a concourse that could double as the walkway for a bridge, but rather, fans and athletes alike will enjoy a refreshing home that Seawolves can make into their own. At the cost of $21.1 million on top of the original $17 million it took to originally build the arena, fans will finally get to enter a place where they have been blocked from entering for over two years.
After a small, discrete door in the wall served as the only link between what was there in the past and what is there now, the time has finally come for Stony Brook to present its work.
One thing is for certain—whoever walks into the newly-renovated Stony Brook Arena will know that they are not in a fledgling program’s home court anymore, but rather are at an up-and-coming star school ready to make a break through.
Fans will now be able to actually see the scoreboard. The old arena, which was originally built in 1990, had plenty of lighting on its ceiling, like any indoor venue would. However, combine the low roof with plenty of electronics, and images show that seeing anything on the stadium-model scoreboard could not have been an easy task.
Once Seawolves Country enters its refurbished home, it will be clear that spacing is no longer an issue.
“Working with the architects, we determined that the best layout was to rotate the court 90 degrees and build the seating bowl around it.” Assistant Athletics Director for Facilities, Adam McLeod, said
Doing so provided more room for fans to mingle above the seating areas and for ticket holders to grab a mid-game snack or catch up with friends.
Of everything to consider ahead of such a big project, there are always top priorities.
“One of our main goals was to bring the fans as close as possible to the action,” McLeod pointed out, while mentioning that they wanted to put a priority on, “adding certain modern day amenities to improve the overall fan experience.”
Improve it they did, as four luxury suites, a VIP lounge and many more accommodations for games make Stony Brook Arena a location that anybody could enjoy. Two video boards on either end of the court will make taking in the action that much easier for Seawolves fans.
Mcleod said that, “in the early stages of design we were faced with many challenges due to structural limitations within the existing space.”
Whatever challenges those were, a changed, but more appealing design came out the other side. Stony Brook Arena always looked like an arena, but only from the outside. Now, when fans walk up the stairs and head through the doors to watch a Seawolves basketball game, they will have what they expected: an entertainment home.
There are no more gaps in the seating bowl like there were at the old arena and are now at Pritchard, with merely four sets of retractable benches. Now, a new design, including corner seating on the far half of the court with a loge seating area on top of the suites and lounge, makes room for more Stony Brook supporters and adds aesthetic appeal.
When NK Architects and Populous along with general contractor Fortunato Sons Contracting, Inc., came together with the athletics department and then-Director of Athletics Jim Fiore to create something exciting and new for Long Island, they may not have been able to perfectly envision just how close they would get to their goal.
It is safe to say that in the end, they got pretty close.
“The result is an enhanced modern day Arena that we feel both students and the community will love being a part of,” he said.
After the Globetrotters kick things off on Oct. 4, the Seawolves begin their journey in their new home with men’s basketball on Nov.14, followed by women’s basketball the very next day.