Men's & Women's Basketball
Entering its 11th year as the home of the Fresno State men's and women's basketball programs, the Save Mart Center is recognized around the nation as being one of the finest on-campus college arenas, and recently was named the No. 2 top collegiate venue by Pollstar, the leading trade publication for the concert and entertainment industry.
With its size, scope, unique architectural features, and state-of-the-art video, sound and telecom systems, the Save Mart Center will serve as the major provider of entertainment and sporting events for decades to come. Seating capacity for the arena ranges from 15,000 to 18,000 seats, with 15,596 listed as the official number for basketball.
The Save Mart Center is a premier entertainment destination for headline events and tours. Designed by Sink Combs Dethlefs (Denver, Colo.), the Save Mart Center is approximately 450,000 square feet and contains 32 private suites, 1,000 Arena Builder seats (commonly referred to as "club seats"), a club level concourse, team locker rooms, and athletics training facilities. The entire facility is approximately 48 acres and located off Shaw Avenue adjacent to Highway 168.
The total project value exceeded $100 million and represented the largest privately funded project in the history of the California State University system. The Save Mart Center was financed through revenue from corporate sponsorships, private gifts, leasing of luxury suites, sale of Arena Builder and personal seat licenses as well as revenue from advertising and signage agreements.
Next to the Save Mart Center is the West Complex, a $17.6 million, two-story, 92,000-square-foot building which features the Student Recreation Center, the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the high-tech Leon and Pete Peters Educational Research Center.
The Save Mart Center has already hosted four major collegiate sporting championships, which most recently came in March 2012 when Fresno State hosted a NCAA women's basketball championship regional for the second time. In March 2004, the facility served as the host site for the McCaffrey Western Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament. The following year, the Save Mart Center was the venue for the first and second rounds of the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, marking the first time the NCAA basketball has visited Fresno. In 2007 and 2012, Fresno State was one of four schools that hosted the regional semifinals and championship game for the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
The Bulldog volleyball team has called the Save Mart Center its home since 2006, as they played the majority of the season there in the first year and in 2007 competed in their first complete season at the arena.
In 2008, a new configuration was unveiled and a new floor built to create a new intimate environment for the student-athletes and fans.
The new court was designed to look similar to the court the team played on the previous two seasons at the Save Mart Center and the court that the Fresno State men's and women's basketball teams currently play its games.
The new floor however, is a volleyball specific court and was made by Horner Flooring out of Dollar Bay, Mich., the same company that designed the previous court.
"We feel very fortunate we are able to play on a volleyball specific court," said head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell.
Made out of sugar maple wood, the floor is 5,400 square feet and took three-and-a-half to four weeks to build said Doug Hamar of Horner Flooring. Hamar then went on to discuss the amount of paint, about 18-20 gallons used for the red endzones and the Bulldog in the center of the court.
The court is pieced together in 126 smaller panels and was driven out from Dollar Bay to Fresno in a truck last Thursday and arrived to the Save Mart Center on Tuesday. It was then assembled by the Save Mart Center staff.
"We wanted to create an intimate playing arena in the Save Mart Center and I believe fans will enjoy the new configuration," said Paul Ladwig, the Associate Athletic Director for External relations and Broadcasting. "One of our goals is to create the best fan experience that we can. The fans will be up close and personal to the live action from this point forward."
Bulldog volleyball began in 1965 playing in the North Gym, originally known as the Fresno State College Gym which opened for competition in Jan. 1953. The $1 million dollar facility wasn't officially occupied until the fall semester of that same year. It was the first gymnasium in the history of Fresno State and originally served as the home court for men's basketball.
In 1995, the North Gym underwent a $2 million facelift that saw significant improvement for everyone involved with the facility. The changes included installation of more than 350 chairback seats, air conditioning in the gymnasium, two electronic digital scoreboards and the construction of the North Gym Annex, located on the north side of the gym. The annex was completed in 1995 and boasts the women's locker rooms for volleyball, softball, basketball, tennis and track and field. It also includes a coaches locker room and a multi-purpose/conference room.
Last Updated: June 27, 2013