On September 17, 2010 it was officially announced the men's and women's ice hockey programs would move to the NCAA Division I level for the 2012-13 season. The teams competed in the existing 1,350-seat Penn State Ice Pavilion until the new arena was completed in the Fall of 2013. Pegula Ice Arena is capable of hosting other on-ice events, including ice shows and National Hockey League and American Hockey League exhibition games. The main ice arena features a main competition ice arena with seating for about 6,000 spectators. The facility also includes a practice rink, offices, locker rooms and player areas. The facility was 100% privately funded as part of the $100 million gift, the largest in the university's history, to advance the men's and women's ice hockey programs to the NCAA Division I level and provide a suitable facility for that move.
On November 5, 2010 the Penn State's Board of Trustees appointed Crawford Architects and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson the architects for the new arena. Crawford Architects has worked on projects in the US and internationally and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson designed the Biobehavioral Health Building, currently under construction on the PSU campus.