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Save Mart Center

Save Mart Center

The Save Mart Center at Fresno State is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of the California State University, Fresno, located in Fresno, California. An open house was held for community on 5 November 2003 with the official ribbon cutting following on 27 November 2003. Save Mart Center is home to the Fresno State Bulldogs basketball team and, for the first five seasons in the ECHL (2003-08) the Fresno Falcons ice hockey team; prior to the opening of the building, the teams played in Selland Arena. Save Mart Center is also a concert destination with its first concert performance featuring opera tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Financing for the project was provided through revenue from corporate sponsorships, private gifts, leasing of luxury suites, sale of club seating and personal seat licenses as well as revenue from advertising and signage agreements.

The Save Mart Center encompasses approximately 40,000 m² (430,000 ft²) on three primary levels; an event level and two concourses, plus a club level mezzanine. The facility includes thirty-two revenue-generating suites and eight party suites, located on the main concourse level. Seating capacities are approximately 15,500 for basketball, 14,000 for hockey, 8,000 for half-house concerts, 15,500 for end-stage concerts, and 18,000 for center-stage concerts.

The arena's main exterior landmark is the 37 m (93 ft) Larry A. Shehadey Clock Tower. Thirteen stories in-all, it was named for the founder of Producers Dairy Foods, a Fresno-based dairy company, who donated US$3 million towards construction. The lobby at the arena's southeast entrance is named after Shehadey’s late wife, Elayne Shehadey.

The majority of the funding for the facility came from two sources. Save Mart Supermarkets paid US$40 million for 20 years naming rights, and the Pepsi Bottling Group paid a similar sum for exclusive, indefinite beverage dispensing rights. Total construction costs exceeded US$100 million[citation needed] and when completed, represented the largest privately funded complex of any university in the United States.[citation needed]

The Bulldog Foundation donated money for the following amenities at Save Mart Center:

The Bulldog Foundation Community Room, which displays the names of past presidents, current officers, lifetime honorees and annual top fund raisers and used for show catering, premium seating holder dining and is also available for rent.

The Bronze Bulldog at the Shehadey Lobby. Created by the Visalia based art foundry, EMI, is the massive bronze bulldog statue with dimensions of 3 m (10 ft) high, 2 m (7 ft) wide, 3 m (9 ft) long, weighing 1,905 kg (4,200 lb). Statue onlookers will see engraved on its mounted plaque:

This is our mascot and he ain't no hound.

He’s an English bull and weighs lots of pounds

He’s got two rows of teeth and a terrible frown

Hey, nobody’s kicking our dog around!!!

Nine time capsule boxes were placed in the base of the massive Bulldog statue early in 2004. The contents of capsules were chosen to represent all aspects of Fresno State University, including the Bulldog Foundation, administration, alumni, students and athletics. The capsules are scheduled to be opened in early 2054.

Save Mart Center's display cases, located on the upper and main concourses, exhibits equipment and memorabilia of each of the current Bulldog sport activities. Additionally, the display case in the northwest corner spotlights the academic success of Fresno State’s student athletes.

The Bulldog Walkway is a permanent, on-campus tribute to the California State University, Fresno alumni, graduates and friends. It is located on the north side of Save Mart Center with the first three tiles in honour of Colonel Richard Douglas Husband, who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, Lieutenant Commander Otis Vincent Tolbert, who died in the 911 attack on the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 passenger, Todd Morgan Beamer. All were Fresno State alumni. Expected to eventually be extended throughout the campus, the walkway consists of personalized tiles and bricks intended to leave a lasting impression to those who use it.

The Bulldog Shop souvenir store is located on the arena's northeast lobby. It will only be open to sell Fresno State merchandise and apparel during university events.