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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

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 reality.

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 said.

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 facilities.

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 and online.

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, 401-874-4500


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