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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

Rhody’s Road to the Convocation Center


o May 1996 -- Gov. Lincoln Almond begins push for new athletics facility at URI after talks with former URI basketball coach Al Skinner.

o June 14, 1996 -- "Keaney Gym replacement long overdue," Newport Daily News editorial.

o Nov. 7, 1997 -- Brailsford and Dunlavey, a Washington, D.C. facilities planning and management firm, completes feasibility study on URI arena and ice rink project.

o Jan. 25, 1998 -- "No more playing games: URI needs a new gym," Journal-Bulletin college basketball columnist, Kevin McNamara.

o Jan. 26, 1998 -- "Public to have opportunity to review proposal for sports complex at URI," Associated Press story in Newport Daily News on Brailsford and Dunlavey feasibility study. Committee of the Board of Governors for Higher Education to review project on Feb. 3.

o March 18, 1998 -- U.S. Sen. John H. Chafee Pays tribute to Rhode Island Rams on Senate floor. "A tribute to the Rams of Little Rhody."

o March 1998 -- Gov. Lincoln Almond makes first private gift to arena project, a $1,000 donation, during pep rally for URI men’s basketball team.

o April 1998 -- Gov. Lincoln Almond names 25-member panel of business leaders to help raise needed funds for new arena. Almond and CVS Corporation chief Thomas M. Ryan to co-chair the Blue Ribbon Steering Committee.

o May 28, 1998 -- "An arena for URI: Almond is right, let’s go and do it," Providence Journal-Bulletin columnist M. Charles Bakst.

o June 6, 1998 -- "URI, state both need new arena," Providence Journal-Bulletin columnist Bill Reynolds.

o June 8-14, 1998 -- "Good for UConn, may work for URI," front-page headline from Providence Business News.

o June 12, 1998 -- "URI arena backers push for a miracle," headline in Providence Journal-Bulletin. "We’re down by six with 10 seconds left to play," URI President Robert L. Carothers as quoted in the Journal story.

o June 16, 1998 -- "Almond scores URI arena in overtime," headline in Providence-Journal Bulletin. Journal story says legislators commit $3 million to be spent in the 1998-99 fiscal year, with $1 million in July and $2 million in January for design and engineering studies.

o June 17, 1998 -- "Compromise paves way for URI basketball arena," headline from Associated Press stories running statewide.

o June 18, 1998 -- "Almond looks good on the arena, but real winner is URI," headline from column written by Providence Journals’s M. Charles Bakst.

o June 19, 1998 -- "Compromise to replace URI’s aging arena is victory for entire state," headline from editorial in The Woonsocket Call.

o June 19, 1998 -- "Time is right to fund, build arena at URI," headline from editorial in The Newport Daily News.

o June 25, 1998 -- "URI deserves new arena," headline from editorial in South County Independent.

o June 26, 1998 -- "Arena is a slam dunk," headline from editorial in The Narragansett Times.

o July 15, 1998 -- "Merchants hopeful about impact of arena on business," headline from The Narragansett Times.

o Dec. 26, 1998 -- "Look for the Rams to move into their new on-campus arena about the same time the Pats (Patriots) move to Hartford," Bill Reynolds, Providence Journal columnist.

o Jan. 7, 1999 -- First distribution of URI brochure highlighting questions and answers on the Convocation Center. Twenty-two topics, including financing, construction timetable and an ice facility, discussed in detail.

o Jan. 28, 1999 -- Gilbane Building Co., Providence, selected the program manager for the Convocation Center project at URI. The contract is for approximately $2 million.

o Feb. 9, 1999 -- HOK Sport, a Kansas City architectural and engineering firm that has worked on more than 70 collegiate and professional convocation center and arena projects, announced as the architect for the Convocation Center project.

o Feb. 11, 1999 -- URI announces $5.7 million raised toward a $15 million private fund-raising goal at kickoff of Convocation Center Campaign. University receives leadership pledges of $3 million from CVS; $1 million from Bradford R. Boss, chairman of A.T. Cross, Lincoln; $750,000 from Fleet and $150,000 from Fleet Group President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Higgins and his wife Mary.
--Leadership Gifts Committee announced, Gov. Lincoln Almond ‘59, Thomas M. Ryan, ’75, CVS Corp. president/CEO, co-chairs.
--Major gifts Committee announced for campaign, Joseph Forimicola, ’69, president of Executive Realty.

o Feb. 12, 1999 -- "Corporate leaders rally for URI arena," headline in The Providence Journal

o Feb. 12, 1999 -- "Donors pledge $5.7 million to URI arena fund," headline on Associated Press story in The Newport Daily News.

o Feb. 12, 1999 -- "Governor holds pep rally to push for new URI arena," headline from The (Pawtucket) Times.

o Feb. 12, 1999 -- "Almond announces $5.7 million raised for Convocation Center," headline from The Good 5 Cent Cigar.

o Feb. 18, 1999 -- "Arena campaign off to rousing start," headline from South County Independent.

o March 11, 1999 -- "Designers meet to discuss site for Convocation Center," headline from The Good 5-Cent Cigar.

o April 14, 1999 -- "URI staff boosts new arena at SK, NK chamber meeting," headline in The Narragansett Times.

o June 5, 1999 -- URI’s Alumni Weekend crowds get a look at floor plans and architectural renderings of Convocation Center.

o August 1999 -- An archaeological firm unearths burial ground near the URI football field at Meade Stadium last week. It has not been determined whether the burial plot falls within the Convocation Center footprint.

o Sept. 30, 1999 -- Ad Hoc Gravesite Task Force formed to advise the University and the Convocation Center Building Committee with regard to a Colonial-era cemetery in the Convocation Center project.

o Nov. 16, 1999 -- Just nine months into fund-raising campaign, a total of $7.06 million is raised for the project.

o March 28, 2000 -- Global Spectrum, a worldwide facility and events management firm based in Philadelphia named facility manager for the Convocation Center and the separate ice arena.

o March 29, 2000 -- "A banner day for basketball and hockey at URI," headline in The Providence Journal on story about Board of Governors and legislative support for Convocation Center and ice facility.

o March 29, 2000 -- "Not just an arena," headline from letter to editor in The Providence Journal by Robert M. Beagle, URI vice president for University Advancement.

o May 20, 2000 -- Thomas M. Ryan, chairman and CEO of CVS Corp., surprises guests at the URI Foundation Ball with a $1 million personal gift to the Convocation Center Campaign.

o July 13, 2000 -- "Swing of wrecking ball gets URI Convocation Center off to smashing start." With an assist from Gov. Lincoln Almond, workers begin demolishing the field house at Meade Stadium to start clearing site for the 200,000-square foot Convocation Center. Event marks start of largest project in URI’s history. $9.7 million of $15 million goal for project raised in only 18 months.

o July 14, 2000 -- "Demolition launches new URI sports arena," headline from The (Pawtucket) Times.

o July 14, 2000 -- " URI field house torn down for new arena," headline from The Newport Daily News.

o July 14, 2000 -- "Work begins for URI Convocation Center," headline from The Providence Journal.

o July 20, 2000 -- "URI starts to build arena of future," headline from South County Independent.

o September 2000 -- Excavation, foundation and site utility work complete

o Oct. 14, 2000 -- Official groundbreaking
--Officials announce that URI has raised $10.12 million toward the fund-raising goal.
--Well-coordinated team of architects, designers, building managers, construction workers, structural engineers and others is involved in process of bringing the physical structure to reality.
--Major supporters square off in commemorative basketball scrimmage at Keaney.

Oct. 15, 2000 -- "URI breaks ground for new center," headline from The Providence Sunday Journal.

Oct. 15, 2000 -- "URI breaks ground on center," headline from The (New London) Day.

o Oct. 16, 2000 -- "URI begins construction of New Convocation Center," headline in The Newport Daily News from Associated Press story.

o Oct. 18, 2000 -- "Arena going up," "Hot shot,"headlines over photos of groundbreaking ceremonies, Narragansett Times.

o Oct. 19, 2000 -- "Convocation Center on its way as officials break ground," headline from South County Independent.

o April 27, 2001 -- "Up and up goes the Convocation Center," headline, photo and story in The Narragansett Times.

o May 7, 2001 -- Bid for construction of $12 million, 2,500-seat ice facility awarded to A.F. Lusi Construction Inc. of Greenville. Symmes Maini & McKee Associates of Cambridge, Mass. will work on the architectural and engineering portion of the project.

o May 7, 2001 -- With concrete seating risers being installed, concrete poured to construct the deck of the concourse level and structural steel shaping the facility’s spectator bowl, Convocation Center now starting to look like an arena and entertainment hall. Observers can now envision where they might like to sit for events.

o June 14, 2001 -- "Convocation Center taking shape at URI," headline from South County Independent.

o July 27, 2001 -- Ironworkers today hoist final steel beam into place for the facility’s roof. Last week marked erection of the last of the four, 65-ton, 200-foot main roof trusses over Convocation Center.

o July 28, 2001 -- "URI Center takes shape," headline from The Providence Journal.

o Aug. 1, 2001 -- "The last beam," headline over photos in The Narragansett Times

o Aug. 2, 2001 -- "Steelwork completed on Convocation Center, headline from South County Independent.

o Aug. 6, 2001 -- "Steelwork up at URI Convocation Center," headline from Providence Business News.

o Aug. 9, 2001 -- "URI breaks ice on hottest day of year," 250 supporters today officially launch construction of a $12 million, 2,500-seat ice arena, one of only two ice rinks in Rhode Island to operate year round. Bradford R. Boss, a 1955 graduate of the University, charter member of its men’s hockey club and chair of the Ice Arena Advisory Committee, was one of the key participants in a ceremonial puck drop.

o Aug. 10, 2001 -- "URI launches construction on $12 million hockey arena. It was the hottest day of the year and the folks at the University of Rhode Island on Thursday were thinking about ice," headline and lead of Associated Press story in (Attleboro) Sun Chronicle.

o Aug. 10, 2001 -- "URI launches construction of new ice rink," headline in Woonsocket Call.

o Aug. 10, 2001 -- "The University of Rhode Island held an unusual hot day activity, launching construction of a $12 million ice skating arena," from the Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Mass.

o Dec. 14, 2001 -- URI well on its way to making the Kingston Campus the coolest place in South County as contractors have completed much of the steel framework of ice arena. Commitments for ice time are now in place.

o Dec. 14, 2001 -- Commitments for luxury boxes in the Convocation Center have been received. The Convocation Center is now substantially enclosed, allowing work to continue through the winter months.

o Dec. 21, 2001 -- "Rink, convocation center going up, URI may be able to hold a skating party in August," headlines from The Providence Journal.

o Dec. 28, 2001 -- "URI to name new center after Ryan," headline in South County Independent

o Jan. 6, 2002 -- "URI wants to name new arena for CVS chief," headline in Providence Sunday Journal.

o March 14, 2002 -- Rhody faithful an buy a piece of history at Convocation Center. Commemorative brick campaign under way.

o March 22, 2002 -- Walls going up, roof completed at URI ice arena – more than 400 express interest in ice hockey.

o April 22, 2002 -- As Convocation Center nears completion, Gov. Almond checks out his seat.

o April 23, 2002 -- "At URI arena, the governor savors moment," headline on M. Charles Bakst column in The Providence Journal.

o April 25, 2002 -- "Arena set for June opening," "Almost ready," headlines from South County Independent

o April 26, 2002 -- URI dedicates historic cemetery near its Convocation Center

o May 10, 2002 -- "URI dedicates historical cemetery," headline in The Providence Journal

o May 15, 2002 -- "Restoring a page of history," editorial in The Narragansett Times on the dedication of the Niles Farmstead

o May 15, 2002 -- Workers find work on URI ice arena going smoothly, workers installing 11 miles of refrigeration lines

o May 16, 2002 -- "Niles Farmstead Cemetery at URI shows evidence of slave trade," headline in South County Independent

o May 17, 2002 -- "Pretty Cool," "New URI rink glides toward completion," headlines in The Providence Journal

o May 23, 2002 -- "URI ice arena going up smoothly," headline in South County Independent

o May 29, 2002 -- Workers complete concrete slab for rink surface at URI arena, 1,160 cubic yards of concrete used for ground slab and rink slab

o June 21, 2002 -- Gala celebration and opening for donors and supporters of Ryan Center.

o June 23, 2002 -- Community open house, 1 to 4 p.m., featuring free concert by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, games, contests, amusements and food.

For Further Information: Linda Acciardo 401-874-2116, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

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