Photo by Ian Feldmann.
UMBC has brokered a deal with the Oak View Group to continue maintenance of the new Event Center, which will expand facilities for varsity sports and create better opportunities for community involvement and event.
The Event Center is an $85 million project that has been under construction since February of 2016, and is scheduled to open in February of 2018. Currently, UMBC has a 3-year contract with the management company Pinnacle Venus Services, which was recently bought by OVG in October.
The Event Center to be maintained by OVG is a multipurpose venue, with the dual purpose of hosting varsity sports events such as volleyball and basketball games and outside events. Pinnacle Venue Services, under ownership of OVG, will be in charge of ticketing, parking and booking.
Doug Higgons, the principal managing partner of PVS, said, “Everything that has to do with the Event Center, we’re in charge of. It’s built for events like basketball and volleyball in mind; but it’s holistic for member shows, trade shows, meetings and conventions.”
UMBC stated in their facility management page, “[The Event Center] will support recruitment and retention of high-quality student-athletes to advance UMBC’s objective to become a consistent top-third finisher in all sports in the America East.” It will be an alternative venue to the RAC, which usually holds most large-scale events at 4,000 seats. Conversely, the Event Center will be able to hold up to 6,000.
First year student Fatimahzahra Nuisaree recalls going to the RAC for student orientation and being critical of the venue. “I noticed that the arena didn’t feel extremely large. Some of the buildings on campus are quite old, but I didn’t come to UMBC for the athletics centers.” The RAC was constructed in 1973, but has had several renovations since.
Terry Cook, Senior Associate Vice President of Administrative Services, agrees that the RAC has certain limitations; specifically on space, “as it was built in mind for sports.” Unlike the RAC, the Event Center is geared towards both hosting special events and sports games. It is also better suited for special events, as there is much more parking surrounding the center rather than the RAC, which only has administrative parking garage.
The RAC isn’t the only building to undergo renovations. The Commons roof, despite being built in 2002, requires full replacement due to leaks and mold. Construction has also limited the amount of recreational space available to students on campus.