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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

Thomas M. Ryan Center to open doors with free concert, fun

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band to entertain June 23

KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 5, 2002 -- The University of Rhode Island Thomas M. Ryan Center will open its doors for a community open house featuring John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band on Sunday, June 23 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The opening marks the culmination of a two-year construction project, the largest in the University’s history.

Visitors will be able to tour Rhode Island’s newest athletics and entertainment venue, climb a rock wall, try on URI athletic team uniforms in the locker rooms and meet URI players, coaches and other celebrities. Beaver Brown begins performing at 2:30 p.m.

The music, interactive games, and tours are all free.

"This is our way of thanking our supporters throughout Rhode Island and the region," said Robert M. Beagle, URI vice president for University Advancement. "We’re proud of this new facility and want all of our friends to share in this wonderful achievement. Without the support of our alumni, the business community and residents of Rhode Island, we could not have gotten this done."

The 8,000-seat, $54 million Ryan Center is located on the Kingston Campus. Access can be gained from the north off West Alumni Avenue or from the south, off Route 138 to Keaney Road.

"We’re eager to show off this great building," said Terry Butler of Global Spectrum, the management company hired by the University to run the facility. "We’re asking the public to come join us for a hot dog, some popcorn and some games. We want people to sample all this great venue has to offer, so when we host ball games, concerts, and cultural events, they’ll be eager to come back."

Work on the Center began on July 13, 2000 when Gov. Lincoln Almond, operating a crane, swung a wrecking ball into the old field house at Meade Stadium, marking the start of site preparation for the 200,000-square-foot center.

For many months, donors, alumni, and representatives of the media and corporations have been touring the building, walking through the stages of construction of the event floor, the concourse level and the luxury suite level. They toured the concourse and six luxury boxes, which have views of the arena floor and the Meade Stadium football field. They also viewed the seating layout, , and the locations for the seven concession stands and 10 restrooms.

The Center puts students in prime viewing sections along the floor on three sides of the arena. Because of the steep design of the seating bowl, no seat will be more than 74 feet from the action.

The building stands 86 feet high, is built with tall walls of glass windows and features three stair towers that are modeled after lighthouses. The event level houses the arena and event floor space; the main concourse provides access to spectator facilities, including general seating, restrooms, and concessions; the suite level will provide a venue for prime viewing and food service. Two lobbies will be provided on the ground level. An Alumni Room will also be available for public rental.

In March, URI said goodbye to Keaney Gym as its main athletic and entertainment venue with basketball games, concerts, special events and many great memories. URI had long ago outgrown Keaney, which was built in 1953 for a student body of 2,183. The University now enrolls more than 14,000. Keaney will now be the headquarters of the URI women’s volleyball team, and the Institute for International Sport’s New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

For more information Contact: Terry Butler 401-874-9217, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

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