INDIANA — It’s a good thing that officials from IUP and the Kovalchick Convention & Athletics Complex (KCAC) officially dedicated the $79 million, 150,000-square foot building Friday, because the first ticketed event, the Harlem Globetrotters, will hit the floor of the Ed Fry Arena next Friday.
Amy White, the KCAC’s director of marketing, said the goal of the complex is to bring different kinds of events — big-name, family-oriented shows and concerts — to the Indiana area, and help people avoid longer trips to Pittsburgh, Altoona or State College, for example.
“The drive to Pittsburgh is brutal,” she said. “We think this is very accessible in this area.”
By the same token, the university hopes that KCAC events will also attract out-of-town guests to Indiana, White said.
In addition to the 5,000-seat Ed Fry Arena, the KCAC offers the 650-seat Toretti auditorium; 17,000 square feet of conference space (divided into nine rooms); and a 6,000-square foot corporate training and executive conference center offering six meetings rooms and three offices for use by event planners.
She said the idea was to have the KCAC for athletics and shows, as well as speakers, conferences and banquets. It can house four different events at the same time, independent of each other.
“We’re excited about this whole arena,” White said.
Of course, the KCAC — located adjacent to the IUP campus along Pratt Drive and Wayne Avenue — is also the new home for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the volleyball team. The complex also makes it possible for two graduation ceremonies per year for 2,000 graduates.
IUP Spokesperson Michelle Fryling said the university expects the facility to have some type of event — a sporting event, concert, show, conference, etc. — 301 days out of the year with a projected 137 events.
She said the KCAC was not built to replace Memorial Field House, which housed the basketball and volleyball teams.
“It will be used for intramurals, recreations — they use that place all the time,” Fryling said about Memorial Field House. “This (KCAC) was built to augment things we needed. We needed a facility like this.”
While IUP owns the KCAC, the university selected Global Spectrum, a firm for managing university arenas and a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor, to manage, market and operate the complex’s Ed Fry Arena in July 2009.
MORE THAN SPORTS
Don’t expect to see only IUP athletics at the new Kovalchick Convention & Athletics Complex (KCAC).
According to IUP, the KCAC is designed to serve as a cultural and economic-development resource for the Indiana region — and it is hitting the ground running at 7 p.m. Friday, March 11, when the Harlem Globetrotters bring their 2011 tour to the center.
Other upcoming events include:
• Waka Flocka Flame (rap), 8 p.m. Thursday, March 24.
• Comedian Rob Riggie, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 26.
• Widespread Panic, 7 p.m. Sunday, April 3.
• Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, April 7-10.
• Stone Temple Pilots, 8 p.m. Friday, April 22.
• Steve Miller Band and Gregg Allman, 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 27.
For more information, check out www.kovalchickcomplex.com  or call 1-800-298-4200.