When the Bryce Jordan Center, now fondly called the BJC, opened in 1996, students,
community members, and promoters welcomed it warmly. In fact, some of
the first shows sold out so quickly that the BJC won a number of awards and
set some sales marks in its first year including being named the top grossing
university venue in America and the highest grossing indoor venue in its size
category, both by Performance and Pollstar magazines.
Big-name performers to entertain at the Jordan Center include Janet Jackson,
Billy Joel, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, the Backstreet Boys, Aerosmith,
Cher, Gloria Estefan, Whitney Houston, Yanni, and Metallica.
Part of the BJC's success can be attributed to its location. The closest building
of its size is 140 miles away, making the Bryce Jordan Center the largest arena
between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The independently managed center books
numerous shows that appeal to college students but also books monster trucks,
circuses, and family-oriented shows. And of course, the BJC is the home court
for both the men's and women's basketball teams, as well as the main convocation
site for thousands of graduating Penn Staters. The most popular event ever
at the BJC was country superstar Garth Brooks who sold out five shows in April
1997, the fastest sellout in the arena's history.
Located next to Penn State's 109,000-seat Beaver Stadium, the BJC was designed
to complement its football counterpart. The BJC has a bi-level design, which
gives it a lower profile and complements the curve of nearby landmark Nittany
Mountain. Architect Rosser International Inc., of Atlanta came up with the
plan, which incorporates brick and glass, helping to retain some of the university
feel while taking advantage of a spectacular view.
More than 3,100 tons of structural steel and 26,000 cubic yards of concrete was used to build the 400,000-square-foot BJC. The highest point from the floor to the roof is 126 feet.
VIP boxes, a top-of-the-line computer controlled rigging system, meeting and
function rooms, and a “Disneyland atmosphere” when it comes to customer service makes the Bryce Jordan Center
a showpiece among other university and multipurpose facilities. The Bryce Jordan Center, funded through state and private dollars at a cost of $55 million, was named after Penn State’s 14th president, Bryce Jordan (1983-1990),
who worked to enhance the University’s reputation as one of the top 10 public universities in the nation.
For more information on the Bryce Jordan Center, visit its Web site at www.bjc.psu.edu.