Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ice Pavilion to Remain, Purpose Still TBD

The Greenberg Ice Pavilion, shown here shortly after its 1981 opening, will likely receive new life

According to a report by Penn State journalism student Dan Griswold published in the Centre Daily Times, the Greenberg Ice Pavilion will survive beyond the opening of Pegula Ice Arena, although not as an ice rink.
Greenberg Ice Pavilion’s days as a skating facility may be numbered, but the building will not be closed or demolished when construction finishes on a new campus arena in October.

Greenberg is slated to continue operating until shortly after the Pegula Ice Arena is officially completed.

“They want to make sure that everything is fully operational at Pegula,” said Paul Ruskin, of Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant.

Once Pegula is up and running, the current plan for Greenberg, which has housed Penn State hockey teams since 1980, is to use it for other intercollegiate sports activities.

“There are committees which will be meeting for the next few months to determine just what that purpose will be,” said Ruskin.
As someone who will always be nostalgic for the Ice Pavilion, it's good to hear that the building will remain standing, even if it won't contain ice (which was never a realistic outcome). Years from now, it would be fantastic if the [whatever the building will eventually be called] is well known for something like being Penn State lacrosse's indoor home, while also retaining the character that made it an amazing place to watch a hockey game.

Indoor lacrosse is just one of many possible outcomes under the rather large umbrella of "intercollegiate sports activities," of course. Others discussed have included gutting the building and converting it to a high-performance training facility, as well as simply laying down sport court (roller hockey!) once the ice is removed - both of which were fully explored by Leah Blasko in an outstanding 2012 article. A third option presented at the time, knocking it down, is now apparently off the table.

The situation, oddly, mirrors the fate of the Ice Pavilion's predecessor. That facility, which was located on the site of the current Lasch Football Building, started as an outdoor rink that opened in 1955. A roof was added in 1960, walls followed in 1963, and the Icers began playing there in 1971. In 1978, the old Ice Pavilion was repurposed as an indoor practice facility for football and other sports. Sound vaguely familiar?

The original Ice Pavilion in its former glory

From there the new Ice Pavilion, which opened in 1981 and adjacent to the fieldhouse to complete the Greenberg Indoor Sports Complex, will hopefully follow a different and more successful path in its reincarnation.

Football and other teams quickly found the fieldhouse inadequate and a replacement, Holuba Hall, was built across the parking lot just eight years after the Icers were kicked out of their original home, in 1986. The fieldhouse existed for a while after that purely as an indoor track facility, but one that was not up to par with the competition or NCAA championship standards due to the limitations of the building's size. The Ashenfelter Indoor Track Facility, finished in 1999, rendered the fieldhouse completely redundant, and it was demolished to make way for Lasch, which opened in 2000.

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