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While the official grand opening wasn't until Saturday's men's basketball game, members of the campus community visited the new Events Center at the open house on Wednesday. Photo by Winston Zhou.

UMBC Event Center ignites a sense of pride

UMBC celebrated the opening of the new Event Center with food, dancing, and music on Wednesday, Jan. 31 by hosting an open house for students and faculty to explore the newly constructed stadium.

Students and staff ventured to the building, which sits at the end Commons Drive, to tour the newest addition to the campus. Members of the campus community could complete a self-guided tour by following informational markers throughout the building. This building was one of several construction projects that were recently worked on.

The open house allowed for the campus to explore the stadium before it officially opens with the UMBC vs. Vermont men’s basketball game on Saturday Feb. 3.

Not only will the Event Center house the 17 athletic departments on campus, but school officials hope that it will ignite a sense of pride on the UMBC campus.

“The building leaves a lasting impression,” said Tim Hall, the athletic director for UMBC. “It’s tangible proof that we love all of our sports.”

The idea of a stadium being built on campus began in 2012 with a feasibility study being conducted. Construction of the stadium itself began in February of 2016. The stadium was scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2017 but, due to delays, was completed in the spring of 2018.

This multi-purpose, 5,000 seat, four-story Event Center which cost about $85 million will be used for many sporting events and house the university’s basketball team. UMBC is a Division I school that now has a facility to show for it.

The Event Center will not only host athletic events but other on-campus activities. The Event Center will host speakers, concerts, and banquets, both for the student body and open to the outside community. A Day to Remember along with Papa Roach will play at the stadium on March 13. The Event Center will also host the Harlem Globetrotters, a world-famous exhibition basketball team, March 15.

The stadium will also bring commencement back to campus. For years, UMBC held their undergraduate commencement at the Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore; with the construction of the new stadium, however, students will receive their degrees in the same place they earned them: on campus. Undergraduate commencement is scheduled for May 24.

The Events Center will also bring a great amount of revenue to the UMBC campus. With its creation, it has opened up numerous job opportunities for students and professionals to pursue.

“Students in the media and communications department, for example, will have a chance to work with ESPN in the Event Center,” said Jessica Hammond-Graf, the Senior Woman Administrator/Senior Associate AD for Student-Athlete Well-Being.

While many consider UMBC to focus its pride on academics, this new addition with also put athletics in the spotlight.

“The Event Center is going to help with the identity of the university,” said Hall. With the Event Center having an impact on almost every student on campus, it has created a sense of pride and excitement on campus.

“This isn’t just for the athletics on campus; it’s for everyone,” said Hammond-Graf. “We’re excited! It’s like a shiny new package on Christmas morning!”