RIVERSIDE, Calif. – California Baptist University added another milestone event in its 67-year history by dedicating the new events center and unveiling the Lancer statue that will stand guard over the sprawling 153,000 square foot building Thursday afternoon.
“This represents another wow day for California Baptist University and Lancer Athletics,” said CBU president Dr. Ronald L. Ellis. “We are thrilled that the new CBU Events Center will be the home of Lancer basketball games, student chapel services and many other great events in the years to come. This building is now one of the magnificent landmarks in the entire Inland Empire.”
CBU’s Director of Athletics Dr. Micah Parker echoed the impact.
“The mission of the athletic department is to ‘honor Christ through excellence in athletics,'” said Parker. “This facility will definitely help us fulfill our mission. The Events Center will present us with the opportunity to invite the Inland Empire to experience exciting and family friendly events and as a result, we anticipate a great atmosphere due to a growing Lancer nation. We are currently planning the events surrounding the season’s opening weekend Nov. 10-11.”
For the coaches and student-athletes, the rapid ascension of the Lancer basketball programs has had far ranging impact.
“We’re incredibly excited for our past, present and future players,” said head men’s basketball coach Rick Croy. “It is our mission to create a transcendent college basketball experience for our students, faculty/staff, alums, and community that will resonate throughout the Inland Empire, Southern California and eventually onto the national basketball scene. Dr. Ellis’ vision and execution of the building of the Events Center changes that dream into a goal.”
CBU student-athlete, Tori Mitchell from women’s basketball grew up in Riverside and offered her perspective.
“I think playing in the Events Center for the first time is going to be very exciting and that the environment there is going to thrilling,” said Mitchell. “The addition of the Events Center to CBU will mean that we will be able seat a greater amount of people for games and chapel, which will make it easier for people to come out and support us.”
The design of the two-level building complements the Mission Revival architecture style that is a hallmark of the CBU campus. The centerpiece of the building will be a more than 5,000-seat arena that will showcase some of the CBU athletics teams competing in NCAA competition.
Currently, the Lancers compete in the NCAA Division II PacWest Conference and will remain eligible for all PacWest championships and NCAA D-II postseason play through the 2017-18 season. University officials plan to apply for NCAA D-I membership in June 2018. CBU has already been accepted to join the Western Athletic Conference beginning the 2018-19 season.
Besides athletics, the arena also will provide space for CBU’s chapel program, attended by nearly 5,000 students weekly during the academic year. Other uses planned for the Events Center include student orientation activities and commencement ceremonies.