James A. Rhodes Arena

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James A. Rhodes Arena
"The JAR"
Location 373 Carroll Street
Akron, Ohio 44303
Broke ground March 8, 1982
Opened December 3, 1983
Owner University of Akron
Operator University of Akron
Surface Hardwood
Construction cost $12.5 million
($28.4 million in 2014 dollars[1])
Architect Thomas T. K. Zung
Capacity 5,500
Tenants
Akron Zips men's basketball, women's basketball, and women's volleyball teams,

James A. Rhodes Arena, commonly nicknamed "The JAR," is a basketball arena in Akron, Ohio on the campus of the University of Akron named for former Ohio governor Jim Rhodes. The arena opened in 1983 and is home to the Akron Zips men's and women's basketball teams and women's volleyball team. The new facility was six years in the making. Some delays were encountered after the General Assembly, in 1977, appropriated $8 million for the construction of a 10,000-seat building for the 1977-79 biennium. However, by October 1978, when preliminary plans for the new complex were presented and accepted by the Ohio Board of Regents, construction costs had risen so rapidly that it required $12.5 million to complete the project.[2] After scrapping the original design, the University decided to go ahead with plans for a scaled-down version of the building. The 125,538-square-foot (11,662.9 m2) building, including an 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) wood floor, was designed by architect Thomas T. K. Zung. The University Board of Trustees approved the new version in July 1981, and ground breaking occurred on March 8, 1982. The building first opened on December 3, 1983 replacing the University's 3,000 seat Memorial Hall gymnasium located right next door. The building site on the eastern edge of campus is located on the northeast corner of Union and Carroll streets, and once served as the home for Fire Station No. 5 and a parking lot.[2]

Whiteout in the JAR, March 2010

The JAR hosted the Ohio Valley Conference men's basketball tournament in 1986. Renovations to the arena is 2002 included a new hardwood floor, four Opto Tech LED displays screens hangs in the center of James A. Rhodes Arena, and most importantly a brand new sound system at cost 1.1 million dollars.

Under the guidance of the University Athletic audio engineers, the JAR received a major upgrade in the fan atmosphere experience. At construction, the JAR employed a distributed horn powered PA system with very narrow dispersion angles, coupled with near-proximity coaxial speakers for the upper deck. This setup lead to several hot zones and many fans wondering what the announcer said. That changed in 2005 with the installation of a fully zoned system employing EVH model horn loaded boxes coupled with 6 TX Series subwoofers in the South catwalk for that tipoff "Thunderstruck" kick. A separate zone was also included for the floor for the UA Dance Team and Basketball team warmups. Precision series EV combined amplifiers and DSPs tune the system to near perfection in every seat. A Midas Venice series mixing console along with several channels of external dynamic channel processing, as well as enhanced hyperspheric modulation accelerators, handle all audio inputs. The system has reached a maximum decibel level of 115 dB during games, and is rated up to 130 dB.[3] The facility currently seats 5,500 people. The arena has two floors. In addition to the court, the first level features locker rooms, a sports medicine and training facility, a ticket office, a fan team shop and meeting rooms.[3] The arena hosted St. Vincent - St. Mary High School during LeBron James' tenure at the school. His games would typically outdraw Zips' men's games.[4]

The decision to name the arena after former governor Rhodes was highly controversial as he ordered the Ohio National Guard to nearby Kent State University prior to the May 4, 1970 shootings. Because of anticipated protests, the dedication of the building was not publicly announced in advance.

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Coordinates: 41°4′33″N 81°30′31″W / 41.07583°N 81.50861°W / 41.07583; -81.50861