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Men’s basketball faces Hartford in new Events Center Saturday

By : Katie Ellis

The Menís Basketball team practices for the first time in $33.1 million Events Center, where their first game will be played Saturday against Hartford.
The wait will be over Saturday as the men’s basketball team tips off against visiting Hartford for the first-ever Events Center function. The first women’s game in the Events Center will be played Saturday, February 7, against the University of Maine.

The $33.1 million facility broke ground June 7, 2000, and with exceptional cooperation between contractors and the State University of New York Construction Fund, is opening for basketball well in advance of the original completion date.

“We’re very excited about the opening,” said Binghamton University President Lois B. DeFleur. “The Events Center will provide a perfect venue to showcase the athletic talents of our basketball teams and to welcome the community to our campus. We’ve been able to open the building for basketball ahead of its full completion because of the cooperation between the State University Construction Fund, Welliver McGuire contractors and our Physical Facilities department.”

Anthony Ferrara, vice president for administration, praised the cooperation among all those involved in getting the Events Center built.

“The contractual date for the SUCF to turn the Events Center over to us isn’t until April and we’ll have an official dedication sometime that month,” Ferrara said. “But a lot of hard, detailed work had to happen to get us into the building for basketball eight to nine months early. We’re all proud of what has been accomplished here.”

Joel Thirer, director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, has been looking forward to this date for a long time. “This opening is the culmination of many, many years of hard work by a lot of people,” he said. “It’s thrilling and extremely fulfilling to have it all come together this way.”

Fans at Saturday’s game can expect a brief ceremony prior to the opening tip off. DeFleur and Thirer will be joined by State Sen. Thomas Libous, SUNY Chancellor Robert King and America East Commissioner Chris Monasch on the court before the teams begin their final warm up.

Phase I construction to ready the building for basketball brings the court and locker rooms on line, as well as two of the three concession stands, a media room, the box office, a gift shop and seating on the east, west and south sides of the facility.

Phase II construction will continue in some parts of the building through the spring and summer. Phase II will see completion of strength and conditioning rooms, the remainder of the locker rooms, the addition of north-end bleachers and some special Bearcat Box seating.

Saturday’s game will draw the largest crowd ever to see a basketball game on campus. Chair-backed seats are sold out but last-minute fans might still be able to purchase tickets for bench seating. Ticket information is available by calling the basketball box office at 777-SLAM (7526).
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Last Updated: 10/14/08