URI Convocation Center building project takes shape
KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 14, 2000 -- While the University of Rhode Island's
Division of University Advancement builds impressive gains in the URI Convocation
Center fundraising campaign, a well-coordinated team of architects, designers,
building managers, construction workers, structural engineers and others
is involved in a parallel process of bringing the physical structure to
Gilbane Building Co. Project Manager Larry Bacher and URI's Capital Projects
Associate Director Paul DePace are working with various firms to shape more
than 4,800 cubic yards of concrete, 1,900 tons of steel, and 690,000 bricks,
into a fresh new athletic and special-event venue for the University community
and the public.
"This project is moving right along on schedule," said Bacher.
He said Cardi Corporation of Warwick has begun excavation of the site, and
J.L. Marshall & Sons of Pawtucket, will begin placing concrete foundations
on Oct. 16.
Bacher said the next step will be to erect the steel frame. "Capco,
Inc., (of Providence) was awarded the steel and pre-cast concrete work for
the project and its engineers are already working on detailed drawings in
expectation of initial steel deliveries in early February," Bacher
The bid packages for masonry, glazing, roofing, mechanical and electrical
work will be released for bidding this month.
When the Convocation Center is completed, the 200,000-square-foot building
located to the north of the Tootell Physical Education Center and to the
west of Meade Stadium, will fit like a glove into the total physical education
complex on the University's Kingston Campus.
The building will have a brick and masonry exterior to complement the
red brick exterior of Keaney Gymnasium. The structure, also designed with
walls of glass windows, will contain three levels: the event level, the
main concourse and the suite level. The event level will house
the arena and event floor space; the main concourse will provide access
to spectator facilities, including general seating, restrooms and concessions;
the suite level will provide a venue for prime viewing and food service.
The Center is designed to host basketball games and other athletic contests,
in addition to major university celebrations, such as commencement and convocation
ceremonies, alumni programs, concerts and major cultural events that will
benefit the campus and surrounding communities. Opening its doors for the
first event in the fall of 2002, the Center will seat 8,000 and stand 86
feet at its tallest point. The facility will feature a steep seating bowl
that will put no seat more than 74 feet from the action.
As the concrete is poured to create the facility's foundation, a different
group is drafting the blueprint for the "action" that will be
seen inside this new venue.
Global Spectrum, a worldwide facility and events management firm based
in Philadelphia, was named as facility manager for the Convocation Center
and the separate ice facility in March. Global is one of the largest facility
management companies in the nation and the only one to specialize in mid-sized
As the facility manager, Global Spectrum will oversee the entire operation
of the URI Convocation Center and the ice facility. The firm will hire and
train staff, book events, and handle ticketing for basketball and special
events. The firm has assembled a team of specialists, including Front Row
Marketing, which will manage the corporate sponsorships and naming rights
for the Convocation Center; Skate Zone, operators of ice skating facilities,
to advise on the planning and operation of the ice facility; Boston Concession
food service; and Ticketmaster to handle all ticketing for events by phone
While it is still too early to book shows and various events, Global
already has begun building awareness about the URI Convocation Center among
trade and consumer and family show producers, and concert promoters. Global
managers say the initial response from promoters has been favorable as they
consider the draw for events from the southern Rhode Island marketplace.
For Information: Linda Acciardo, 401-874-2116, Jhodi Redlich,