Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pegula Center Speculation: Agganis Arena

This is the first edition of a feature in which I take a quick look at rinks known to have been visited by some combination of Joe Battista, Terry Pegula and Tim Curley, in order to possibly get some sort of insight into Penn State's future facility. Okay, we probably won't get any insight, because who knows for sure what the power brokers are thinking, what input the to-be-determined architect might have, etc. Basically, I'm an arena geek who is having trouble waiting 3.5 years for our building. This was originally to be a monthly-ish feature, but given the news that we're going to have an architect selected next month, I'll probably pound these out more frequently. No point in the feature after we already know what the Pegula Center's going to look like, after all. Random Wednesday work for you? Great, glad to hear it.

Stop #1 is Boston University's Agganis Arena, now famous as the location visited by Battista when he received the text confirming Pegula's donation. First, the essential facts:

Opened: January 3, 2005
Cost: $225 million (includes entire John Hancock Student Village, which also contains housing and a rec center)
Capacity: 6,221 for hockey (in PSU's neighborhood)
Official Site

In news that won't apply to us, BU's women still have to play at the older facility, Walter Brown Arena. Ouch. In news that might, BU does an outstanding job booking the facility for events other than BU men's hockey games, both with ice (2009 Women's Frozen Four) and without (numerous concerts and basketball games) despite being in a large city with lots of venue competition.

Here's a look at the interior:

My legal department tells me that this is public domain. However, my legal department is Wikipedia.

I'll go ahead and say it: even though this is the first in the series, this is probably my favorite seating bowl. In my opinion, there's no need to over-complicate things in an arena this size with multiple tiers, unusual luxury box locations and things like that. A single level around the ice surface with a ring of suites around the top is the way to go. You can almost picture the seats in blue, a chipmunk at center ice and some ACHA banners on the far end. It might be worth pointing out that the (very) preliminary sketch of the interior of the Pegula Center looked to have a very similar layout for the main rink (bottom of the page). Then again, it probably isn't worth pointing out, as things can obviously change.

Even the exterior of the arena doesn't look like something that would be out of place among PSU's new-ish venues, including Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, the Bryce Jordan Center and the Ashenfelter Multi-Sport Facility.

Obviously, I want the Pegula Center to be uniquely Penn State, but if it borrowed heavily from Agganis Arena, I would not be at all upset. If I have a complaint about it, it's that it seems kind of sterile. Some brickwork or some other form of manufactured new-old ambience wouldn't kill the place.

1 comment:

  1. I discovered one more thing I'd like to steal from Agganis this morning: