Colgate Unveils Plans for Carey Center

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Artist rendering of Carey Center
By Jordan Doroshenko May 28, 2024

A new 65,000-square-foot basketball and volleyball arena will anchor a new athletics quadrangle at Colgate University, replacing the Reid Athletics Center. Construction of the facility, part of the University’s Third-Century Plan initiatives, is slated to begin in February. 

Named the Carey Center in honor of a lead $23 million gift from the Carey family — Trustee Emeritus Chase Carey ’76, his wife, Wendy, and their children Steve ’12 and Tara ’13 — the new arena will serve as the home for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball. The facility will also be the first of two buildings planned for an athletics quadrangle that will ultimately replace the existing facilities currently housed in the Reid Athletic Center.

The Carey Center will be heated with a geothermal heating system, setting a new standard for energy efficiency and conservation in athletics facilities at Colgate, which reinforces the University’s dedication to creating a more sustainable future for the campus.

This decision was guided by Colgate’s recently updated Green Building Standards, which call for thorough building life cycle analysis and highlight the long-term environmental and economic benefits of zero-emission technologies such as geothermal.

Built in 1959 and designed for a student body of just 1,500 men, the Reid Athletic Center no longer meets the physical, technological, or programmatic standards necessary to support a modern, coeducational, nationally competitive Division I athletics program for Colgate’s 25 varsity teams. 

“This is a significant, comprehensive endeavor on behalf of Colgate student-athletes, and it is happening because of the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends, most especially the Carey family,” said President Brian W. Casey. “We rely on the kindness of these donors to help move Colgate athletics forward. What is just as exciting is that this facility will also provide a new flexible venue for significant University events, gatherings, musical performances, and so much more.” 

A rendering of the planned basketball, volleyball facility within the Carey Center.
A rendering of the planned basketball, volleyball facility within the Carey Center, image courtesy of Sasaki.

Carey Center

The Carey Center will be the centerpiece of the new athletics quadrangle created by the removal of Reid. With a seating capacity of 1,650 and additional standing room, the arena will also feature a practice court; team suites for volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball; the Hall of Honor; media facilities; and a satellite sports medicine, strength, and wellness space. 

“Any time you're going to get something new of this magnitude, you’re extremely excited about it,” said Head Coach of Men’s Basketball Matt Langel. “But for me, it speaks to the mission of the institution and the individuals that it represents.” 

Wrapped in glass and locally quarried bluestone to complement the look and feel of the campus’ existing buildings, the two-story venue will occupy the space currently held by Colgate’s Facilities Department, just west of the current Reid Athletic Center footprint. The first floor will house the arena court, locker rooms, coaching offices, satellite sports medicine and strength and conditioning spaces, nutritional and wellness space, a media and production studio, and more. The second level will include the competition arena concourses along with a practice court, strength and conditioning mezzanine, and a recruiting lounge. 

“For an athlete, having everything they need in one space — from a weight room to nutrition, to athletic training, to a locker room — and having access to multiple courts and baskets whenever they want to get in and shoot extra is important,” said Head Coach of Women’s Basketball Ganiyat Adeduntan. “From a coach’s perspective, the ability to meet with your student-athletes and have communication with people who support your team all in one area is essential.”

Building 2 strength and conditioning facility concept art
Exterior concept art of Building 2, image courtesy of RAMSA.

Building 2

The second planned new building, an expected 40,000-square-foot facility, will serve multiple purposes while focusing on priorities of unifying sports performance and training, locating all elements of the football program within one facility, and providing additional space for student-athlete support.  

Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP,  Building 2 will be the primary location for nutrition, health and wellness, and academic support. It will be finished with a traditional exterior façade, paying tribute to the University’s historic bluestone while mirroring the look and feel of the neighboring venues such as Sanford Field House, Trudy Fitness Center, and Lineberry Natatorium. The construction timeline for this project is now in development.

“Colgate continues to show the country and the Patriot League that we’re serious about being great at academics and athletics,” said Head Coach of Volleyball Ryan Baker. “There’s a sense among my peers that Colgate is doing both really well and it has put Colgate on the map nationally. The Campaign for the Third Century, the vision it supports, it’s very evident that Colgate is advancing as an institution, which is pretty exciting.”

“We have access to professionals and resources, which are excellent,” said Senior Associate Athletics Director for Health and Performance Steve Chouinard. “But getting those resources, recognizing those resources, and bringing those groups together is the challenge. We are not just building something shiny and new, but better, and it’s remarkable.”

Future plans for the Athletics Quadrangle

The New Athletics Quadrangle

The construction of the Carey Center and Building 2, along with Sanford Field House, will frame a new athletics quad at Colgate. The quad will establish more active space for recreation in the heart of athletics, as well as serving as a place for community gatherings on game days and during other important campus events.

The athletics quad — created by the eventual removal of Reid — will include improved, safer pathways to and from the main athletics buildings at Colgate. As part of developing the Lower Campus, the quad will also serve as an event staging space, and will provide natural pathways from Andy Kerr Stadium to Huntington Gymnasium. Upon completion, visitors to Hamilton approaching from the south will be welcomed with a new, beautiful arrival experience of Colgate athletics.

In addition to the Carey family —  Trustee Emeritus Chase Carey ’76, his wife, Wendy, and their children Steve ’12 and Tara ’13, whose lead gift will make this effort possible — the following individuals have added significant leadership commitments to build momentum toward this fundraising goal: Eric ’87 and Pamela Andersen P’16,’22,’23, Chris ’67 and Keena Clifford, Carrie Clifford ’93, Denis ’69, H’16 and Linda Cronin P’09,’10, and Steve ’85 and Jennifer Errico P’16,’18. These donors are joined by many others who, together, have provided the funds to allow this significant project to go forward.