Event Center Hailed as ‘Dream Come True’

June 25, 2010 / by / 0 Comment

The groundbreaking for GCU’s 5,000-seat Event Center on Friday, June 25, celebrated the start of construction on a facility designed to unite the campus and its surrounding community as never before.

More than 300 staff and guests assembled in 92-degree morning heat on the site where the arena will be built, on the southeastern corner of campus. Purple lines marked where the basketball court will be located, and a regulation basket was placed at the south end.

The Event Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.

“This day is about Grand Canyon University and not about a basketball team or even an athletic program,” said Russ Pennell, the Antelopes’ head coach for men’s basketball. “It’s a great day to understand the movement of this University into the forefront of this community.

“Today, what’s exciting is to see a dream beginning to come true. Many of us will look back years from now and say we were here.”

Other comments from the big day:

● Brian Mueller, GCU’s chief executive officer: “We are very excited but also humbled to have this opportunity. We want to remember the 60 years that built Grand Canyon, the people who gave us an opportunity to build on a legacy. Our faculty and staff have put in unbelievable amounts of hours to set this University in a new direction, and we are now on the road to being one of the largest private universities in the country. … This building will put a face on our University. It will change people, and it will change us.”

● Claude Mattox, Phoenix city councilman for District 5: “Grand Canyon University has been described as a diamond in the rough, and it’s time for the diamond to shine.”

● Anton Foss, principal of 360 Architecture in Kansas City, co-designers of the Event Center with Architekton of Tempe: “There’s a genuine passion here (at GCU). There’s something behind what this University is doing, and that makes it easier for us. This is a fantastic team on this project. The level of talent is the finest in the country. Success is usually defined by the vision, and the vision here is clear. What we’ve tried to achieve (in the design) is a building that connects the community to the campus. That’s been the driving force. That’s what the University has said it wants.”

Nick Witherill, GCU men’s basketball player: “This is a huge step in the right direction. This will inspire people to come out and see us. It shows the University is dedicated to our athletic program.”

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