Monday, March 2, 2015

Fueled by the momentum of a men's basketball program that has become a national power, Gonzaga University opens the doors to its sparkling, $25 million McCarthey Athletic Center.

The House That Hoops Built

Special Section

Click on an image below to load a larger graphic, or download them all in one PDF (9.8 Mb).

Seating guide
(727 Kb)

South Seating guide
(203 Kb)

Best seats in the house
(178 Kb)

Parking guide
(228 Kb)

Event level
(259 Kb)

Concourse level
(207 Kb)

Season tickets
(84 Kb)

Menu items
(75 Kb)

Comparing local arenas
(1.9 Mb PDF)

Graphics by staff artist Bridget Sawicki

Steve Bergum / Staff writer

When Gonzaga University officials look around at their school's new $25 million basketball arena, they can't help but think what might have been. And shudder. So much from adopting the original shabby plan of adding seats to Martin Centre to having the men's basketball team cough up a couple of 10-18 seasons could have gone wrong. And then there were the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and ensuing economic cave-in that severely tested the financial resolve of some deep-pocketed backers of the arena project.

Ultimately, however, the plan to knock out the east wall of Martin Centre and add another set of bleachers was mercifully deep-sixed. The basketball team continued to build on the national respect and renown it had earned with its stirring runs in the NCAA Tournament. Most of the big-time corporate and individual donors that signed on to the idea of building a 6,000-seat on-campus arena for the Bulldogs stayed the course.

And the McCarthey Athletic Center became a reality, opening to rave reviews late last month, just 467 days after ground-breaking ceremonies were held on April 24, 2003. (Full story)

By the way, these seats are taken

John Blanchette / Staff writer

The college basketball arms race is no place for fables from Iowa cornfields. If you build it, they will come? Don't kid yourself. A couple years ago, the University of Miami built the new 7,000-seat Convocation Center on its Coral Gables campus, with a price tag of $48 million. In its second season of operation as the Hurricanes' basketball arena, it was filled to an average of just 39 percent of capacity on game nights.

Family forum

John Blanchette / Staff writer

One way to guarantee your new house is built with TLC: Make sure the builder had an emotional investment in your old one. With a price tag of $25 million, Gonzaga University's new McCarthey Athletic Center isn't the most expensive basketball bauble out there not with joints at Pittsburgh and Ohio State and North Carolina State running in excess of $100 million.

All pieces fit for GU women

Steve Bergum / Staff writer

When Gonzaga University women's basketball coach Kelly Graves first got wind of the school's desire to build a basketball arena, he was skeptical. Not because he was worried about his women getting short-changed during the arena planning process, but because he had heard similar rumors during his brief, three-year tenure as the head women's coach at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif. "Every year, it was the same old thing 'We're going to build a new arena' and nothing ever happened. I heard the same thing for three years."

Recent college arenas

Comparing the cost and capacity of other arenas recently built for college basketball.