360 View of First Community Arena at the Vadalabene Center|
Originally opened December 5, 1984, the Sam M. Vadalabene Center lends itself to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of SIUE for the purposes of education, health, recreation and wellness. The facility is the home to SIUE men's and women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling, and has a capacity of slightly above 4,000. It also serves as the indoor practice facility for baseball and track.
Following spring commencement exercises in 2008, the facility underwent a $6 million renovation, nearly tripling the number of chair back seats as well as adding new locker room, class room and office space. A new playing floor was also installed. The facility was officially "rededicated" February 7, 2009.
The largest crowd at the Vadalabene Center post-renovation was 4,157 on Jan. 21, 2012, against Murray State University, a game televised nationally on ESPNU.
In 2010 new locker rooms opened for men's basketball, women's basketball, wrestling, and volleyball.
A $5.4 million addition to the building, the Charles and Mary Lukas Athletic Annex, opened in October 2012. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is housed on the ground floor of the Lukas Annex.
In August 2019 a 10-year, $2.3 million agreement was announced naming the playing arena First Community Arena at the Vadalabene Center.
Through the years, the Vadalabene Center has been host to numerous other events, including the Illinois High School Association Class AA basketball sectionals, the Prairie State Games and the State Games of America. It also is the site for SIUE graduation exercises.
Furthermore, future NBA player Darius Miles led East St. Louis High School past Edwardsville High School in the championship game in front of a sell-out crowd at the Vadalabene Center. In 2002, rapper Nelly played a concert at the venue, and in May 2010, the Vadalabene Center was site to a Guinness World Record for most people clicking a pen at one time.
The "VC" is named for the late Illinois State Senator Sam Vadalabene, who long-championed the facility's construction. Senator Sam, as he was known, once said of the naming of the facility: "It is the greatest tribute that can be paid an individual."
Offering excellent educational programs, enthusiastic faculty and being a critical and functional part of SIUE's campus, the Vadalabene Center is another example of the University's commitment to its students and the community.
Location: Circle Drive on SIUE's campus
Capacity: 4,000 seats and standing room only areas
Facility Opened 1984
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