ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – The University at Albany is proud to announce transformational renovations of both SEFCU Arena and the Physical Education Building that will improve the fan experience and provide state-of-the-art facilities for the University’s athletic programs and Capital Region community events.
SEFCU Arena has been a staple of UAlbany Athletics for 30 years. The building, formerly known as the Recreation and Convocation Center (RACC), first opened in the spring of 1992 as an $11 million state-of-the-art facility, later aiding the University in transitioning to Division I for the 1999-2000 season. Since that time, the building has hosted countless community events and has served as the home for UAlbany’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The facility has hosted many different functions since its opening in 1992, including graduation ceremonies, career fairs, award shows, and student-life events. The arena is also a vital resource and partner to the Capital Region’s schools and non-profit organizations.
“SEFCU Arena has long served as an integral part of UAlbany’s success, and will continue to play a critical role in our future as a leading public R1 institution. This renovation will enhance our achievements and help us reach our goals by creating a world-class facility for our athletic programs and the Capital Region.”– UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez
Construction is scheduled to begin in August of 2022 and conclude in November of 2023. The SEFCU Arena project is estimated to cost $12 million, and the University intends to finance it completely through private funding, with $8.5 million having already been pledged toward the project.
“This is a very exciting day for our fans, alumni, student-athletes, coaches and staff. SEFCU Arena has served our department and community well over its storied history and I’m excited for our fans and the greater Capital Region to be able to experience the upgrades in the renovated space. The new court orientation will create improved sight lines, which will bring fans closer to the action and provide a tremendous home court advantage for the Great Danes. Add to that the enhanced seating and hospitality options, and SEFCU Arena will become one of the preeminent basketball facilities in the Northeast.”
– UAlbany Director of Athletics Mark Benson
One of the most notable changes that will come to SEFCU Arena will be the new orientation of the basketball court, which will change from a north-south orientation to an east-west orientation. This change will allow for a more immersive fan experience by creating improved sight lines and upgraded amenities.
New Guest Amenities Will Include:
Premium Seating Opportunities
Upgraded, Spacious Chair-Back Seating
Improved Sight Lines
New and Enhanced ADA Seating Throughout
New Hospitality Areas
Club seating will be featured in the northern corners of the concourse and new VIP seating will be integrated into the top rows. The renovated arena will accommodate 3,800 fans for basketball games, and the south entrance will receive updated graphics and enhanced GDAC courtside corner access.
In addition, the facility will receive brand new bleachers throughout. The top rows will serve as permanent structures, with the remaining bottom rows having retractable capabilities to open space for three practice courts that will run north to south.
“SEFCU has been a staunch supporter of the University at Albany for decades. From offering on-campus banking services to supporting academic pursuits, campus health and safety, and athletic programs, we are proud to work alongside University leaders and the smart, talented students they empower every day. Having our name attached to UAlbany’s on-campus arena has allowed SEFCU to deepen its partnership with UAlbany and provide the campus and Capital Region community with a fantastic venue to enjoy collegiate athletics, educational programs, and community events such as meetings, lectures, and youth sports. These thoughtful renovations and upgrades will make SEFCU Arena a destination for fans, students, and families looking to enjoy a myriad of exciting, engaging, and fun events and activities. They will also allow UAlbany’s student athletes to take their game to the next level as they continue to BE GREAT on the court, in the classroom, and in our community.”– President and CEO of SEFCU Michael J. Castellana
Located under the north end permanent bleachers will be brand new locker rooms for the University’s basketball programs. The new locker rooms will feature additional amenities for coaches and student-athletes, complete with a meeting room, lounge area, and full kitchenette.
“The SEFCU project is an important part of the transformation of UAlbany and will serve as a catalyst for championship level basketball and first class entertainment in Albany. The economic impact to the Capital Region and the upgraded experience within the arena will reshape our section. Although we like to think of Albany as small, this is a BIG deal for our men’s and women’s basketball teams, our University and community. We can’t wait to take the floor from our new locker room as we are welcomed by 3,800 fans inside a first class entertainment venue.”– Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dwayne Killings
“We are so excited for the future of SEFCU Arena. With these renovations, the arena will become a premier athletic and entertainment venue in the Capital Region. Our current players are going to love competing in this new environment and it will provide an amazing game day experience for our alumni, fans, family, friends and season ticket holders. We are thrilled for the future of Great Dane Athletics!”– Women’s Basketball Head Coach Colleen Mullen
Already under construction, the PE Gym, located in the Physical Education Building, is also set to receive new upgrades in a separate project funded by SUNY’s Capital Plan. The project, which is estimated to cost about $2.5 million, will provide a new home for UAlbany volleyball and additional practice space for athletics as a whole.
Construction for phase one of the project is set to be completed in March of 2023 and is part of a larger, $80 million renovation of the entire PE Building. In addition to new Athletic facilities, this multi-phase project will result in significantly more fitness center space and other amenities available to all students.
The timeline for future phases is contingent on state funding. The PE Building itself was erected in 1965 and has served as the home for UAlbany volleyball and also the University’s basketball teams for a time.
“This is an extremely important renovation as the PE Gym serves as an integral facility for our department. The upgrades to this space will greatly enhance the fan experience for our volleyball matches and will also provide a much improved practice space for many of our other programs.”– UAlbany Director of Athletics Mark Benson
In addition, significant technology upgrades will fill the new space. Two new OES LED videoboard displays will be added along with three OES LED display scoring tables. A new built-in sound system with wall-mounted speakers, a portable mixer with a touch-screen interface, and new wireless microphones will provide game-day experiences that are among the best in the America East.
“The renovation of the PE Gym is a game changer for the volleyball program. Our players and alums have put years of hard work into that gymnasium and I’m so happy to see the next generation of teams have a great facility to call home. Our gym has already been a tough place for visiting teams to play and I can only imagine how excited our fans will be to see the new space!”– Volleyball Head Coach Josh Pickard
Finally, along with the competition volleyball court, changes to the floor spacing will allow for two regulation basketball courts along with a third court that will be used as training space for men’s and women’s basketball as well as campus recreation. Replacement basketball backboards will be installed along with drop down dividers and new wall padding – all with new branding.