The UMBC men’s basketball team will bid farewell to the Retriever Activity Center (RAC) on a high note this week. Undefeated at home this season, the team plays one final game in the RAC on January 27 before moving to the new UMBC Event Center for its official opening on February 3. Kickoff events will continue on February 8 as the women’s basketball team takes on Binghamton.
In addition to serving as the home for men’s and women’s NCAA Division I basketball and women’s volleyball, this major new UMBC facility will also host to cultural events, concerts, and popular guest speakers.
“The completion of the Event Center marks an important milestone in UMBC’s evolution. This venue will provide our athletic teams with an exceptional home base, while also enabling us to host more events focused on the arts, culture, and the life of the mind,” said UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. “We are delighted that we will now be able to open our doors even more broadly to the community.”
The opening of the Event Center offers a particularly exciting opportunity for UMBC to bring spring commencement back to campus for the first time in two decades. After outgrowing the RAC, the ceremony was moved to Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena. The UMBC Event Center, with around 6,000 seats, will offer a large enough space to honor UMBC’s next graduating class in May 2018.
Spanning an impressive 172,000 square feet, the Event Center will include a practice gymnasium, athletics department offices, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning and academic support centers, a sports medicine suite, multimedia spaces, meeting facilities, and the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame, which features highlights from the past 50 years.
“The move to the Event Center has the entire department, campus, and community energized,” said Tim Hall, director of athletics. “We can’t wait to see how the next chapter in our athletic program’s history unfolds.”
UMBC partnered with Oak View Group Facilities (OVG) to manage the venue and provide ticketing support.
“We are thrilled to be working with the university to open and manage the new Event Center,” said OVG’s Tiffany Sun, general manager of the UMBC Event Center. “With the location of the venue and the available space, the Event Center is going to be a great jewel for the university and the community. Our team has an aggressive plan for the space, and we can’t wait to open the doors and welcome everyone into the new venue.”
Two community preview days will take place ahead of the official UMBC Event Center opening. The UMBC campus will have the opportunity to tour the facility and sample concessions on January 31, noon – 3 p.m. The local community is invited on February 1, 4 – 8 p.m., to enjoy tours, family-friendly activities, and light fare.
For media coverage of the UMBC Event Center opening, see Fox45, ABC2, The Baltimore Sun, and Baltimore Business Journal.
Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.