Kenneth G. Langone Athletics & Recreation Center
The Bucknell University Department of Athletics and Recreation prides itself on setting the standard of excellence when it comes to success both on the playing fields and in the classroom. Whether it is winning Presidents' Cups, leading the nation in graduation rates, or producing Academic All-Americans and Patriot League Scholar-Athletes, Bucknell is clearly at the head of the class in terms of upholding the scholar-athlete model.
The addition of the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics and Recreation Center, one of the finest collegiate athletics and recreation venues of its kind, ensures the continuation of that success.
The facility enhances each of Bucknell's 27 varsity programs and greatly expands the scope of its growing intramural and recreational sports offerings. A visually appealing structure located along Moore Avenue on the "downhill" side of campus, the Langone Athletics and Recreation Center was designed to reach out to all members of the campus community, including the student body, varsity student-athletes, faculty, staff and alumni.
Three primary venues lie within the facility: the Arthur D. Kinney Jr. Natatorium, the 4,000-seat Gary A. Sojka Pavilion and the Krebs Family Fitness Center. Other features include a new location for the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame, a display of Bucknell's Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, a sports medicine and athletic training suite, classrooms, modern offices for coaches and staff and increased locker room space for varsity and recreational athletes.
The facility is named in honor of Ken Langone, a 1957 Bucknell graduate who, along with his wife Elaine, pledged $11 million toward the center's construction. Langone was a member of the university Board of Trustees from 1980 to 1996.
One of the special qualities of the Langone Athletics and Recreation Center is the manner in which it supplements the pre-existing facilities. The brand new construction surrounds Gerhard Fieldhouse and historic Davis Gymnasium, which has been restored as a competition venue for the Bison volleyball and wrestling teams, as well as intramural, recreation and other varsity practice activities.
As Bucknell continues to strive toward its mission of setting the standard of excellence in college athletics, the Langone Athletics and Recreation Center becomes the centerpiece in an already impressive cache of athletics facilities that includes the 13,100-seat Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium and its FieldTurf gridiron and 8-lane track surface; the scenic Bucknell Golf Club; and the spacious West Fields Complex, which encompasses Depew Field (baseball), the Varsity Softball Field and the adjascent Graham Field (Astroturf for field hockey and women's lacrosse) and Varsity Soccer Field (natural grass) venues that now feature a brand new stadium/press box facility.
A closer look behind the walls of the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics and Recreation Center:
The third area, the Berger Family Weight Room, sits on the former site of Freas-Rooke Pool, and is used for instructional free-weight training and varsity workouts.
Natatorium amenities include seating for 500 spectators, restrooms, separated varsity and visiting team locker rooms, a poolside classroom, sauna, steam room and concession stands.
Already Kinney Natatorium has played host to several major events, most notably the 2005 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship. The facility is home to Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championships every other year, and it has also played host to the 2004 Eastern Women's Water Polo Championship and an exhibition game against the U.S. women's water polo national team, drawing rave reviews at each. Beginning in the spring of 2005, the Pennsylvania state swimming championships moved to Kinney Natatorium.
The facility has proven to be quite a home pool advantage for Bucknell, which became the first institution in league history to capture both the men's and women's swimming and diving championships in the same season in 2003. A total of 20 meet records and 16 league marks fell that weekend.
Behind the scenes, on the floor level, Sojka Pavilion provides a green room for performance acts and other functions, a catering kitchen for special events, ticket windows, locker room space for home and visiting teams and officials, and a loading dock capable of accommodating team buses and production trucks for televised events.
Dozens of nationally televised basketball games have already been aired from Sojka Pavilion, including the ESPN broadcast of the 2006 Patriot League championship game and an ESPN360 airing of the Bucknell-Villanova men's game that drew a school-record crowd of 4,433.