The new arena is the home of the varsity ice hockey teams at RIT, replacing the Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena. Ritter Arena will not be demolished, and continues to be used as an ice arena. The Polisseni Center serves primarily as a hockey arena (for both RIT varsity hockey and local youth programs), and it will also be a multi-purpose venue. The Polisseni Center is built not far from Ritter Arena on the RIT campus, south of the Student Alumni Union, replacing portions of parking lot U.
Fundraising was started with a $1 million USD donation from Stephen and Vicki Schultz. Naming rights were given based off a $4.5 million USD donation from the Polisseni Foundation (with backing from B. Thomas Golisano) and were announced on November 11, 2011 during the men's hockey game against Air Force.
With arena construction being an estimated $30 million, the funding of the project has been divided into two components. The first half will be borrowed against RIT's endowment fund (worth $544 million), and paid back with sponsorship and ticket sales. The second half of the cost is a grassroots fundraising effort called the Tiger Power Play. The Tiger Power Play is an effort to bring in both big name donations (like Tom Golisano) as well as garner support from students and alumni. Small donations could be made by cell phone text message. Larger donations have been working directly with school administration. Sales of nameplates for seats is also available, initially costing $1,000 per nameplate, and later reduced to $500.