Bryce Jordan Center
The Bryce Jordan Center is home to both the Nittany Lions and the Lady Lions basketball teams of Penn State. The Bryce Jordan Center has much more to offer than just basketball. The arena also houses a number of entertainment events each year, including music events, comedy shows, or children's entertainment.
Backstory and Context
The Bryce Jordan Center, also known as the BJC, is in the heart of State College, Pennsylvania or Happy Valley, for short. The Bryce Jordan Center is a part of the Pennsylvania State University main campus. Thousands of students and fans flock to the Bryce Jordan Center every year. It has become a staple of the community. The Bryce Jordan Center is home to both Penn State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Bryce Jordan Center is much more than just a sports stadium, it is also used for entertainment events, music concerts, and is home to the largest student-run philanthropy event in the entire world.
The stadium itself is named after Dr. Bryce Jordan, the fourteenth president of Penn State. Dr. Jordan played a huge role in getting Penn State its admittance into the Big Ten Conference. Prior to becoming a member of the Big Ten, Penn State was a member of the Big East Conference. Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1990. Due to his dedication in the community, the university, and its’ student athletes; Penn State dedicated the state of the art facility to Dr. Bryce Jordan, as thanks everything that he did for the university.
The building of the Bryce Jordan Center began in December of 1993. The construction timeline took an early hit with harsh weather conditions in the winter of 1994 which delayed the projected build time. As spring came along, construction picked up and the operations ran according to plan. The winter of 1995 was a mild one, and because of this, the construction ran much smoother than the previous winter. Because of this mild winter, the construction of the Bryce Jordan Center was ready and open for business by the actual commencement ceremony on January 6, 1996. The result was a massive fifty million dollars, three hundred and sixty thousand square foot facility that was ready to open its’ doors to the public. Just to put this into perspective, 3,100 tons of steel, 26,000 cubic yards of concrete and 5,600 tons of precast concrete were used to construct this massive venue.
The Bryce Jordan Center has also seen its’ fair share of renovations over the years. Over the summer of 2017, Wholsen Construction made renovations to the stadium. Some of these renovations include: a new roof, upgraded electrical fixtures, restoration of masonry and replacing the stadium’s concrete floor. Future renovations are planned. The goal of these future renovations is to make the stadium feel like a more intimate space. One possible idea is to move the seating closer to the court. These planned future renovations are part of the university’s larger plan to make improvements to its’ sports stadiums and facilities. Penn State’s mission to improving their facilities is proof of the university’s dedication to providing its’ fans with the best possible experience.
The stadium itself has a maximum capacity of 15,261 occupants. Those attending concerts and events can buy seats on the floor. There are also more traditional stadium seating options available as well. These traditional seats include a full back and armrests. For those looking to watch in style, VIP seating is also available. The Bryce Jordan Center offers fans and event goers some state of the art audio and video equipment. The arena provides fans a high-tech sound system to go along with a television quality scoreboard display screen. Fans are also offered the usual concessions such as food and souvenirs.
Two of Penn State’s sports teams play at the Bryce Jordan Center, the Nittany Lions men’s basketball team, as well as, the Lady Lions basketball team. Both teams play in the Big Ten Conference. Both the Nittany Lions and the Lady Lions play incredibly well at home. For these two teams, home court advantage is a real thing. The last time the Nittany Lions made it to the NCAA March Madness Tournament was in the 2010-2011 season. The team has made it to the Tournament a total of nine times, while having one Final Four appearance in the 1953-1954 season. The Lady Lions basketball team has also enjoyed tremendous success. The last time that the Lady Lions reached the NCAA Tournament was the 2013-2014 season. In total, the Lady Lions have made it to the Tournament a total of twenty-five times, making it to the Final Four in the 1999-2000 season.
Penn State has seen its fair share of great basketball players and coaches throughout its’ time. Jesse Arnelle was one of the greatest men’s basketball players in Penn State history. Arnelle was an All-American that led Penn State to its only Final Four appearance. He would go on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Talor Battle was a scoring machine for the Nittany Lions. He is the all-time leading scorer in Penn State history with 2, 213 points. Battle currently plays for Petrol Olimpija in Slovenia. Rene Portland coached the Lady Lions for twenty-seven seasons. During the 2006-2007 season, Portland became just the ninth Division I women’s basketball coach to win six hundred games at one university. Portland finished her coaching career ranked sixth all-time on the total wins list for women’s basketball.
Penn State basketball players and coaches get the chance to use some state of the art facilities at the Bryce Jordan Center. Both teams have access to the locker room and player lounges. Also available to the players are the film room, training and weight room, coaches’ offices and full-size basketball court complete with six basketball hoops. The Bryce Jordan Center is also media friendly. Members of the media are treated to the use of multiple meeting rooms, as well as, a spacious press room.
The Bryce Jordan Center is also home to many different concerts and shows. Various musical artists have performed here. Whether it be Bruce Springsteen, Kanye West, or Luke Bryan, the Bryce Jordan Center offers a wide variety of musical options. Events are not just limited to musical artists; comedians like the cast of Impractical Jokers and Kevin Hart have graced the stage of the Bryce Jordan Center. With multiple games and shows being offered regularly, the Bryce Jordan Center is never lacking for entertainment.
The Bryce Jordan Center is the home of the largest student-run philanthropy event in the entire world known as THON. The formal name of the event is the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. Every year, Penn State students hold a forty-six-hour dance marathon to raise money for children’s cancer research. This event has been held at the Bryce Jordan Center since 2007. THON has raised tens of millions of dollars for children’s cancer research. All proceeds of the event and yearly fundraising efforts go to the Four Diamonds at Penn State Children's Hospital. Some highlights of the event include yearly children’s talent shows, guest speakers, and athlete hour. Athlete hour consists of Penn State student athletes taking the stage and performing dance routines or bringing kids up on stage to play an assortment of games. The event is all about the kids.The Bryce Jordan Center is an incredible arena that has a profound impact on the community. Prior to it being built, Pennsylvanians had to travel to either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia to experience large scale events, shows and athletics. The Bryce Jordan Center has endeared itself within the community and provides fans with countless hours of entertainment and has a positive impact on society. The Bryce Jordan Center was built with the purpose of supplying the university and the community a proper place to enjoy athletics and entertainment. After nearly twenty-five years of service, the Bryce Jordan Center has far exceeded its goal.
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