ECAV opens doors to RPI community

Held in conjunction with Reunion & Homecoming Weekend 2009, the East Campus Athletic Village grand opening was this past Saturday. A number of students—particularly student athletes—as well as administration members and alumni were in attendance.

After the groundbreaking ceremony two years ago, ECAV finally opened its doors to the Rensselaer community this weekend with a ribbon cutting, opening ceremony, FanFest, and homecoming football game against the University of Rochester.

The most extensive athletic construction project in Rensselaer history at $92 million, the new facility boasts a multipurpose lighted stadium with a 5,200-seat FieldTurf and a 1,200-seat basketball arena. In addition, the facility houses a strength and conditioning center, sports medicine suite, several offices to be used by coaches and athletic administrators, a new Hall of Fame, and a café. These were all part of the Phase I construction, and construction for Phase II, which includes an indoor pool and sports facility along with tennis courts, is still on hold due to monetary constraints.

At the grand opening ceremony, Vice President for Student Life Eddie Ade Knowles stated, “ECAV will elevate the Rensselaer student experience—minds, bodies, and spirits—for all of our students—for varsity athletes, and those who play club sports, for everyone who plays on an intramural team, and for the entire Rensselaer community.”

He continued, “Elevating the quality of the student experience is key to this transformation, and athletics is one avenue toward creating a world-class undergraduate residential community.” 

Board of Trustees Chairman Samuel Heffner ’56 also spoke at the opening, comparing his experience as an RPI student to that of the current student. Describing how the newest building on campus during his years was the Houston Field House, he stated, “This modern complex adds another dimension to our student experience. We continue to build a world-class learning community in the pre-eminent, global, technological research university of the 21st century.” 

President Shirley Ann Jackson spoke to the crowd gathered in the gymnasium about the reason for including the creation of such a facility in The Rensselaer Plan: “With this addition to the Troy campus, we continue to transform the student experience, to go beyond the standard, to excel—across the board, in all endeavors—and to do even more to create leaders. At the same time, with the initiation of the village concept, we bring our Rensselaer community together in a new way. Our goal—as with all that are doing to transform Rensselaer for the 21st century—is to create a unique residential undergraduate college within a world-class technological research university.”

Following the opening remarks, attendees were invited to participate in FanFest, which included free popcorn, cider donuts, burgers, ice cream, and face-painting outside of the stadium prior to the start of the football game.