The Committee on the Finance and Physical Plant announced at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting that Crawford Architects of Kansas City, Mo., along with contributions from the firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson out of Wilkes-Barre, have been awarded the contract to create the architectural designs for the new hockey arena.
The proposal is for a 200,000-square foot multi-purpose ice arena, including two sheets of ice and accommodation for 5,600 spectators.
Thursday, the Board of Trustees’ Architectural Selection Committee saw formal presentations from three finalists before deciding on Crawford Architects.
“They have a very strong design team,” said Associate Athletic Director for Ice Arena Operations Joe Battista. “We were very impressed that they had thought through all of the different amenities. Not just with the building but the landscape, how it’s going to be oriented in the site and just their overall enthusiasm.”
Their experience was also a factor.
Battista said they brought in Tim Moore out of Indianapolis to assist with the designs. Moore has been a part of building over 200 ice rinks, and is a specialist in the ice field, he said.
The team of architects also has experience in designing both college and NHL arenas. Crawford Architects designed Notre Dame’s Joyce Center, and the team also has members who helped design HSBC Arena and the Verizon Center, where the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals play, respectively.
The team of architects will also look to take advantage of the location’s topography. Because the location is on a slope, Battista said the architects’ plan is to build the rink into the hill, which will allow the arena to utilize sunlight in lobby areas without affecting the ice. Because the ice will be below ground, less energy will be needed to keep it cold.
Along with that, Battista said the architects will look to take advantage of all modern technologies including solar panels and new energy efficient ways to create ice. He said the focus is sustainability.
“After that it was really just the fact that what they presented is really going to be a world-class, state of the art facility,” Battista said.
Penn State alum and CEO of East Resources, Inc. Terry Pegula made the initial donation of $88 million to the university on Sept. 17, with $10 million still needing to be raised. As for whether the architects’ proposal affects that $10 million, Battista said it’s too soon to tell. Because the arena is so unique, Battista said that as ideas arise they will look at their potential costs and then make a decision.
“The way it’s been described, we’ve been handed a lump of clay and the fun part is we get to play with it,” Battista said.
The initial proposal said the arena itself will have stadium seating, with a drop-down scoreboard above center ice.
“There won’t be a bad seat in this arena,” Battista said. “We want to make it loud and make it a tough place to play in. We really want to work on that home ice advantage.”
Because of the drop-off, Battista said it will allow the stadium to have two entrances, providing easy access to attend games.
Battista said the home suite will also provide a great attraction to potential recruits. Besides the home locker room, he said the physical therapy, weight training and aqua works rooms will all be state of the art.
“From a recruiting standpoint, this will be a real gem in the college hockey world,” Battista said.
Overall, Battista said the proposal gives the university a great opportunity to use different ideas that are practical, cost-effective and factor well in terms of sustainability.
“We all want to use the great ideas in the proposal,” Battista said. “The most important thing is, while it won’t be the biggest arena in college hockey, we want it to be the best.”