SBJ/November 25 - December 1, 2002/Special Report

Ryan Center, University of Rhode Island

Fans can watch football and basketball at the new Ryan Center.

The new Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island gives Rams fans one of the most distinctive athletic complexes in the country.

Suite holders can watch the men's and women's basketball games from one side of their boxes at the $54 million venue, and they can also watch football games at adjacent Meade Stadium through the other.

The suites sell for $19,500 per year and include tickets to all basketball and football games. The concourse is glassed in as well, giving general admission ticket buyers similar views during trips to concession areas and rest rooms.

To make this construction feature possible, the visitor seating section at Meade Stadium was demolished, reducing capacity to about 5,180 from 8,000. All football spectators, with the exception of the fans in suites, now sit on one side of the stadium.

The loss of seats is not, however, expected to cost the school revenue, as the football team averages fewer than 4,000 fans a game.

URI alumnus Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of retail drug store chain CVS Corp., pledged from the company $3 million in 1999 toward the construction of a new convocation center. In May 2000, Ryan himself donated $1 million, a pledge he later matched.


ARENA FACTS

City: Kingston, R.I.

Tenants: University of Rhode Island men's and women's basketball teams

Owner/operator: URI/Global Spectrum

Architect: HOK Sport

General contractor: Gilbane Building Co.

No. of seats: 7,700

No. of suites/club seats: 8/0

Projected cost: $54 million

Funding: $18 million in state appropriations; $21 million in state-issued bonds; $15 million in private donations, including $3 million from CVS Corp.

Concessionaire/premium-seat caterer: Boston Concessions/in-house

Pouring rights: Pepsi

Scoreboard providers: Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics Inc., White Way Sign & Maintenance

Floor provider: Robbins Sports Surfaces

Seat provider: Hussey Seating Co.

First games: Nov. 22 vs. Kent State (women); Nov. 26 vs. USC (men)

Click here for a list of Ryan Center subcontractors.

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