Gannon University’s Highmark Events Center has been awarded $1.5 million through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
The RACP grant will support the university’s planned renovations to the 36,560-square-foot Highmark Events Center, creating a visible change to the landscape of downtown Erie. Welcoming crowds of nearly 3,000 for 70 years, the Highmark Center improvements will enhance opportunities for athletic events, community lectures, concerts, camps, events and programs, and create economic support for the Erie region.
“We are extremely grateful to the governor and our delegation of state legislators for this continued support of Gannon’s efforts to transform lives and our downtown community,” said Gannon University President, Keith Taylor, Ph.D. “We are excited for their investment that will join those made through the partnership between Gannon and Highmark to renovate the Highmark Events Center. These contributions will create a meaningful impact on the experience of our Gannon students and benefit the Erie community for years to come.”
The Highmark Center renovation is expected to exceed $10 million with major changes planned for the inside and outside of the center, which is home to the university’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling, acrobatics and tumbling, and competitive cheer teams. Renovations will include new men’s and women’s locker rooms for both the home and visiting teams, new courts for basketball, volleyball, wrestling, acrobatics and tumbling, competitive cheer, competitive dance, as well as new concession stands and seating for spectators.
“This investment will help enhance the facility as a vital asset not only for our student-athletes, but for the entire Gannon and Erie communities as well,” said Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Student Experience. “The renovations to the Highmark Events Center will build on the existing traditions of our university’s athletic complex as well as become a new hands-on training and clinical site for faculty and students to apply what they are learning in the classroom. Gannon University is thankful to receive this support as we continue investing in our commitment to downtown Erie and making it a premier location to learn, work and live.”
“The center’s revitalization is going to enhance the facilities for students and attract more visitors to the downtown area for events, shopping and dining – all of which aligns with the goals of the city’s comprehensive plan,” State Representative Bob Merski said.
This announcement comes shortly after the partnership with Highmark and the renaming of the facility. This support will drive both Gannon and Highmark’s commitment to revitalizing downtown Erie.
“Highmark is so pleased that the state has decided to be a part of what will truly be a renaissance for the Highmark Events Center, a facility that has been an iconic part of life in downtown Erie for decades, and will continue to be for years to come,” said Jim Teed, vice president of Regional Markets, Highmark Inc.