Frequent Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHY DOES RMU NEED A NEW EVENTS CENTER?

A new events center is required to contribute to an enhanced student and student-athlete experience. The significant enhancements of a modern facility will not only help raise attendance for all venue events, but will also aid in recruiting the best student-athletes to raise the university's regional national profile. It will attract outside events, increase the university classroom and conference facilities, and provide the exercise and training amenities prospective students now expect when considering where to enroll.

WHAT ARE THE PLANNED USES FOR THE CENTER?

As a university asset, the new events center will be the home for the men's and women's basketball programs and women’s volleyball program, along with convocation and commencement ceremonies and other campus events. As a regional showplace venue, it will draw additional events to campus, not only contributing to the region's vibrancy but enhance the overall campus experience, a concern the university is constantly looking to address.

HOW DOES IT FIT ATHLETICS/UNIVERSITY STRATEGIC PLANNING?

The new events center is a priority of the RMU Board of Trustees. It is expected to significantly transform the campus community.

WHY SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON ATHLETICS?

Athletics is a vital part of the college experience and a common way for alumni to stay engaged with the university after graduation. New and enhanced facilities improve the quality of the current student-athlete experience and provide comfort and amenities in which to engage alumni of all ages. Recent construction projects have properly prioritized academics, such as the renovation of the library and construction of the School of Business building, Wheatley Center for the School of Communications and Information Systems, and Scaife Hall for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Meanwhile, the athletics facilities have become antiquated.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT TIMELINE?

The UPMC Events Center is scheduled to open in 2019. The separate student recreation and fitness center in the North Athletic Complex is slated to open in time for the start of the Fall 2017 semester.

WHAT IS THE TOTAL COST?

$50 million for the UPMC Events Center, the student recreation and fitness center, and related improvements. The project is funded largely through individual donations and corporate sponsorships, including sponsorships from UPMC and Peoples. Other corporate sponsors include Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, PJ Dick, and PNC. The project also has received a grant through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

How much will this project affect the university operating budget, and what will it do to tuition?

This project is completely paid for by corporate and private donors and state development funding. No university funds or tuition dollars will be used for this project.

During construction, where will events be held that used to be in Sewall Center, such as commencement, guest speakers, expos, and conventions?

A committee representing academics, student life, conference services and other stakeholders is considering alternative spaces, including Yorktown Hall and the Island Sports Center, and will outline a strategy and approval process for the interim period. Those events will be held in UPMC Events Center once construction is completed.

Why didn't the plans include a new facility for RMU's men's and women's hockey?

RMU purchased the Island Sports Center in 2005 for its hockey program. The Sewall Center is twice as old as that facility and is therefore a higher priority for modernizing.

WHAT IS THE LOCATION OF THE BUILDING?

The building will be the new front porch of the campus, sitting directly to your left as you enter campus, where the Sewall Center currently stands.

WHAT TYPE OF SEATING WILL THE FACILITY HAVE?

The new events center will feature fixed seating in all areas except for the end court student bleachers. The new 1921 Club hospitality area will also have courtside seats on the floor for donors.

WHAT ARE PLANS FOR STUDENT SEATING?

A lively student section is a key part of the game day experience. The student section will consist of lower bowl seating on the baseline and a student deck overlooking the court. Both sections are an upgrade from student seating in the present arena, and are intended to enhance student experience, participation, and positive impact on the game.

WHAT IS THE RECRUITING IMPACT OF THIS BUILDING, BOTH FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES AND THE OVERALL STUDENT BODY?

Today's consumers, which include students, expect a top-tier experience when they come into an arena, and this facility will meet those needs. RMU attracts interest from excellent student-athletes for many reasons, including not only team success and visibility but also academic reputation, quality of professional preparation, and the overall beauty of the campus. Several recruits who ultimately chose other schools have commented that their decision was in large part because of the antiquated state of the current athletic facilities. Erecting a state-of-the-art arena will significantly close that gap.

WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE AN ADDITIONAL PRACTICE COURT IN THE PLANS?

This space ensures that our volleyball and basketball teams can practice on a regular schedule when other events occupy the main arena floor.

HOW CAN INTERESTED DONORS GET INVOLVED?

Contact Matt Millet, Vice President, Development - Institutional Advancement at millet@rmu.edu or 412-397-6406.