FAIRFIELD—Fairfield University has announced plans to build an 85,000-square foot, 3,500-seat Convocation Center on the current site of Alumni Hall. Projected to open in 2021, the new facility will boast a state-of-the-art broadcast and media center, luxury seating and lounge areas, and updated features that will truly make it a showpiece of Fairfield’s modern campus.
Designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners of Centerbrook, Conn., Fairfield’s new Convocation Center will be home to its Division I basketball and volleyball programs, Prep basketball, and will host convocations, concerts, and gatherings for the University and the neighboring community at large. Although the official timetable for construction is still to be determined, the building project is expected to begin in the spring of 2020 and take between 18 and 24 months.
“The new arena will be a versatile, dynamic, and contemporary space,” said President Mark R. Nemec, Ph.D., “providing a much-anticipated upgrade in size, technology, and amenities.”
A Look Inside
David Frassinelli, vice president for facilities management at Fairfield University, is overseeing the design and construction of the project. He described how sports fans, concertgoers, and event attendees will enter the new Convocation Center from the main entrance off of Loyola Boulevard and find themselves on a spacious, open concourse level, looking toward a large beer garden, satellite concessions, and access to seating that surrounds the court below.
Above the concourse, plans call for an upper-level Stags Club with additional rows of seating and a conference room overlooking the court. The lower (court) level will feature amenities to support Stags student-athletes, including a film room, a team lounge, and a training room for taping, icing, and first aid operations.
“The new Convocation Center will have an important role to play for the entire University and Fairfield Prep community, in terms of being a true community resource — a venue for events very similar to what we use Alumni Hall for today, but just serving them better,” said Frassinelli.
New Home for Stags Athletics
As the future home of Fairfield’s basketball and volleyball programs, the new Convocation Center will feature the latest in today’s lighting and scoreboard technology on the lower court area, as well as cutting edge broadcast and audio systems. The upgrades will enhance the quality of the event experience for those in attendance, and will also benefit remote viewers through advanced livestreaming and video production.
While basketball and volleyball will undoubtedly use the new arena the most, when it comes to recruiting Division I athletes to Fairfield University, the Convocation Center is poised to benefit all Stags athletics programs.
“A modern facility makes an impression on prospective student-athletes, regardless of the sport they play,” Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann said. “It demonstrates an overall commitment to Athletics by the University and will be transformational in its impact on all our programs.”
With project costs estimated at $45 million, the planned facility marks the culmination of capital projects detailed in Fairfield’s Master Plan. Over the past three years, this multi-phased plan has delivered on its promise to modernize the physical and technological structure of the Fairfield campus.
“We are busy fundraising, and in true Stags-fashion, we are seeing tremendous excitement and support from our alumni, parents, and friends,” said Vice President for Advancement Wally Halas. “This Center will bring our entire University community together and serve the town of Fairfield for years to come. It’s extremely important to the future of the Fairfield family, and it’s wonderful to feel that family come together in support of this effort.”
Final Convocation Center approvals from the Fairfield University Board of Trustees and the Town of Fairfield are on track, and the projected financing, which is critical, is proceeding as planned. For updates on the status of this, and all recent and current construction projects on campus, visit fairfield.edu/moderncampus.
Photo: Courtesy of Centerbrook Architects and Planners.
Fairfield University is a modern Jesuit Catholic university rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and across the globe are pursuing degrees in the University’s five schools. Fairfield embraces a liberal humanistic approach to education, encouraging critical thinking, cultivating free and open inquiry, and fostering ethical and religious values. The University is located on a stunning 200-acre campus on the scenic Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.