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Memorial Hall Grand Re-Opening Shows Off Complete Transformation

memorial ribbon cutting

SUNY Plattsburgh’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation gave visitors to Memorial Hall a glimpse of what $30 million will buy at the facility’s grand reopening celebration Saturday, Feb. 17.

The event welcomed faculty, staff, students, visitors and local lawmakers Billy Jones from New York’s 115th Assembly District and Michael Cashman, Town of Plattsburgh supervisor, to see the now-completed renovation to Memorial. Planners had to develop their re-design, including the decommissioning of the facility’s pool, using the same overall footprint of the 55-year-old building.

shiny lobby areaThe multi-million-dollar multi-phased project, launched in fall 2019, saw Phase I completed during the 2021-2022 academic year. That included what visitors on Saturday called the “shiny” new lobby, the Hall of Fame area, a downstairs changing area, athlete-only strength and conditioning room and a recreation gym — complete with viewing areas above in the lobby — which occupies the space where the pool once was.

Renovated Varsity Gym

Phase II was completed during the 2023-2024 academic year and included renovation to the varsity gymnasium, which played host Saturday to SUNY Oneonta, new equipment in the Strength and Condition Room and a new tri-corner, two-floor climbing wall.

volleyball gameIn addition, Phase II included a renovated 12,000 square-foot fitness center for all students, faculty and staff that more than doubled the size of the facility and includes all brand-new equipment, as well as new locker and team room spaces, new group activity rooms, and a sports medicine suite for varsity athletics.

The event Saturday benefitted from crowds coming into Memorial to watch both Cardinal women’s and men’s basketball games against SUNY Oneonta as many fans participated along with those who had gathered in the lobby. Tours of the building were held following the formal program.

Coincides with Health and Wellness

“This facility can only be described as state of the art,” said University President Alexander Enyedi. “The fitness center puts to shame what you would find elsewhere. This facility coincides perfectly with the strategic plan’s theme of health and wellness.”

howard and enyediMike Howard, director of athletics, agreed, saying the university has always been “about the students, and this building is all about the students. It is a showpiece, and we have something here to showcase,” he said.

“Earlier, as they were entering the building, I heard the visiting basketball team say, ‘Wow, this place really pops.’”

Ribbon Cutting

Saturday’s grand re-opening included merch give-aways, refreshments and a ribbon cutting on the front steps.

Student speakers Sanaia Estime and AJ Barber praised the facility. Estime, a member of the recreation staff and women’s volleyball team, encouraged students to participate in what Memorial has to offer. Barber, a senior fitness and wellness major and staff member in the fitness center, applauded those who are participants.

“We would not be here if you guys weren’t here,” he said. “This is a great facility, and I hope it’s here for years to come.”

     alex speaks to the crowd

      selfie with beanievolleyball sanaia estime and friend

— Story, Photos by Associate Director of Communications Gerianne Downs

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