Ryan Center is a 7,657-seat multi-purpose arena in Kingston, Rhode Island. The arena opened in 2002 as a replacement for the old Keaney Gymnasium, which was built when the school’s needs were for a much smaller student population.. It is home to the University of Rhode Island Rams basketball. The building is named for Thomas M Ryan, Class of 1975, CEO of Rhode Island-based CVS Pharmacy and lead benefactor of the arena. The general manager is Terry Butler.
The building opened in June, 2002, five months ahead of schedule. The first game in the arena was a women’s basketball game against Kent State University on Nov. 22, 2002, and the first men’s game was an upset win against USC on Nov. 26.
The building is recognizable for its three corner towers, which were modeled after lighthouses. (The fourth corner would be where the building meets the Tootell Physical Education Center.) It stands directly next to Meade Stadium, and the original field house and west (visitor’s side) grandstands were demolished to make way for the building. There are seven luxury boxes that can view both the basketball floor and the football stadium outside, and new grandstands were built in 2006.
The University of Rhode Island opened the doors to the $54 million, 7,657-seat Thomas M. Ryan Center in June 2002 and fans have flocked to Kingston for men’s and women’s basketball games and several big name concerts in the state-of-the-art arena.
The women’s basketball team won the first-ever regular season game in the Ryan Center 53-39 over Kent State on Nov. 22, 2002 and four days later the men made their official debut in the building with a 73-71 overtime upset over the University of Southern California. Ever since the Ryan Center has been rocking with the men’s team drawing a standing room only crowd of 8,121 against No. 3-ranked Pittsburgh in 2002 and the women’s team setting its attendance record with 3,402 fans against St. Bonaventure on Jan. 16. Both the men’s and women’s teams more than doubled their attendance from the last year in Keaney Gymnasium.
Rhode Island lighthouses were the inspiration for the design of the three towers, marking the North and South entrances of The Ryan Center. The interior reflects the warm earth tones to mimic the surrounding bech community. Standing 86 feet high and located on the University of Rhode Island campus in scenic South County, the 200,000 sq. ft. building is home to the URI Rams Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams.
A multi-purpose facility, The Ryan Center hosts family entertainment, concerts and other community events. Amenities include two state-of-the-art, full-color scoreboards with video capabilities. The house sound system, designed with acoustic provisions, provides a full range of high power sound to all seats in the venue, including the concourse and Alumni Room, making it suitable for any event. The Ryan Center boasts three tiers of seating in the arena to bring all 7,700 seats close to the action.
No Seat is Further than 74 Feet from the Action! The Arena can also be subdivided to provide a half-house venue for smaller functions. The Event Floor seating retracts to provide space suitable for family shows or trade conferences. A portable stage is available for concerts and performance events and the Event Floor itself can seat up to 500 for a banquet.