By Nicklas Grifhorst
Rochester College opened the new Garth Pleasant Arena in front of a sold-out crowd, as the fourth-ranked men’s basketball team defeated Great Lakes Christian College, 124-45, on Saturday, Feb. 18.
This was the first of many events to be held at the new arena. The 868-seat arena will be the first gym on the RC campus allowing for home events. The arena is named after former basketball coach and current Professor of Physical Education Garth Pleasant, who earned 720 wins and four national championships during a 38-year stint as coach. Prior to the new arena being built, RC played its home sporting events at local high schools.
Gaining Home Field Advantage
The new arena will allow for several sporting events and school gatherings to be held on campus. Klint Pleasant, athletic director and men’s basketball coach, said the new arena will allow for events like volleyball and basketball to be held at RC for the first time, giving students easy access to attend events. Other events held at the new arena will be graduation and chapel, allowing for larger groups of the RC community to come together in one area.
“Like never before in RC history, students will have a 'home field advantage' on our doorstep to support and participate in athletic competitions,” said Adam Baron, dean of students.
Pleasant believes the arena could change the dynamic of campus life. “I hope it creates more of a collegiate atmosphere for our current students. Giving them a place, just a few steps from were they sleep and eat, to hang out with their friends and participate in school spirit,” he said.
Pleasant also hopes the new arena will help the overall brand identity of the school by allowing RC to bring in more visitors for sporting events and introducing the campus to more people.
Improving Campus Life
“I’m excited about all the new guests it will bring to campus. Even having fans and visitors from other schools will help our branding initiatives as more people will be exposed to our campus, facilities, students and employees,” Pleasant said.
Students are also excited about having an arena on campus and what it could mean for the school and student life.
“I hope it gives the students a great athletic facility to see our teams play and for our athletes to perform in,” junior William Williams said.
Staff on campus hope that the new arena can live up to its namesake and what Garth Pleasant himself means to the university. Baron said he hopes the new arena will become something that Pleasant will be proud of, by using it to improving student life on the RC campus.
The new arena will also serve as a gathering place for the Rochester community, allowing for local youth and high school sports tournaments and community events to be held there. The Garth Pleasant Arena is located in the front of campus right on Avon Road, giving easy access for fans to attend games.