Sneak Peek: Pegula Ice Arena

Update 11:30: Additional images added courtesy of our friends at Thank You Terry.

Even though ground has not yet been broken, the Penn State community has gotten a pretty convincing glimpse of the soon-to-be Pegula Ice Arena. This new facility is currently in the works after an $88 million donation by natural gas tycoon Terry Pegula was given to fund the arena. Thanks to a few released renderings and drawings of the facility, we can get a pretty good idea of what the new Icers’ home will look like. The facility will hold between 5,000 and 6,000 people, and, according to architects, will provide maximum proximity and views of the ice for fans. The building is being designed by Crawford Architects of Kansas City, MO, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson of Wilkes-Barre, PA. BCJ is the architect of the new Biobehavioral Health Building being built on the Pugh Street mall, currently under construction. Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen of the facility so far.

This site plan was one of the first released images of the new arena. While it is certainly an unflattering image of the facility (hockey in a soda can, anyone?) it provides a telling story of the location and orientation of the arena, as well as its location relative to the surrounding buildings.

These “watercolor” (most likely computer generated) images of the arena, while still preliminary, provide a more tangible idea of what the arena will look like. The first image, “painted” from across University Dr. outside of the BJC shows the context of the building as you can see the arena flanked by Holuba Hall and Shields Building. The roof and façade forms are clearly ambitious representations of what will come, but provide insight into the design process of the architects. The second rendering shows some interesting mezzanine areas in the corners of the rink, providing standing room space for spectators to enjoy the game. My only question: How do I become a member of the “Shoot Twice Founders Club”?

This rendering shows a bit more development beyond the conceptual ideas shown previously. The architect notes that the stands have been designed at maximum slope to keep all fans as close to the action as possible. While some might compare the slope of the seating areas to climbing Mt. Nittany, the fan experience is sure to be an intimate one.

These renderings of the scoreboard proposals are probably the least exciting of any of the views we’ve seen so far. I mean, OK, the first one is fine. What did you expect the scoreboard to look like? The second one of the center ice Jumbotron, however, is rather bothersome. Perhaps it’s because it is currently showing a hockey game from 1987. Maybe it’s because the curved lettering is strangely reminiscent of Pizza Planet. Either way, why do both scoreboards feature AAA sponsorships? Do they cover any engine trouble for the Icers’ Zamboni? Were they just first in alphabetical order of corporate sponsors? I have so many questions. At least the Icers are always winning.

Again, not a super exciting view of the arena here. It is unclear as to what stage of development produced this drawing, however, based on the fact that it is more technical than anything we’ve seen so far, it is probably safe to conclude it is later on in the development stages. The one disappointing thing about this drawing is that the seating seems to be much less steep than previous renderings suggest, however, we can not conclude that this is a final drawing and we can only hope that the architects will fulfill their promises of building Mt. Pegula steeper grandstands.


These images were clearly created for one reason: to generate interest among potential rich donors. Clearly there has been a deep level of development if they have started detailing these small areas already. The first two, while nice renderings, don’t tell us too much about the building itself. A view looking out onto the ice would have been much more telling. The third rendering is a nice section showing the interaction between the private box and the seating area directly below. Looks like there’s just enough room for the rich to spill their glass of chablis on those sitting in the nosebleeds directly below.

These interior views are probably the closest representation of the final building that we will see. The lobby area, a $1 million gift of Paul and Nancy Silvis, appears quite modern in style, embracing the full height glazed façade in an open, naturally lit reception area. The seating looks to have regained some of its slope, however, it is difficult to see if the corner mezzanines have been kept intact. Only time will tell.


This final exterior rendering is by far the most developed of any of the views we’ve seen yet. Clearly, there has been much more thought put into the design and execution of the building. As you can see, many of the roof and facade acrobatics we saw in the earlier rendering have been removed, and the building is now much more boring Penn State-esque. Of course, what would a new Penn State facility be without an abundance of bricks?

Well there you have it, what we’ve seen so far of the plans for the new Pegula Ice Arena. What do you think of the building? Will it fit in contextually with the rest of campus? Let us know below!

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About the Author

Eric Weiss

Eric is the Visual Editor, and a Photographer for Onward State, originally from Pittsburgh, PA. He is currently a 5th year student in the B.Arch program at Penn State.

Likes: Apple Products, Canon Products, any music Pitchfork tells me to listen to.

Dislikes: conversations via Facebook wall-to-wall, #hashtagsthataremorethanthreewords

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