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Rochester Institute of Technology - The Gene Polisseni Center


Designed by Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects Inc.

The Gene Polisseni Centre is a spectator arena at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The capacity is 4,000 with an option to expand to accommodate 4,300. The facilities include one ice sheet with a seating area, club seating, a club lounge, VIP areas, and two concession stands. The building, targeting LEED Silver certification, is used by both men's and women's hockey programs and commencement exercises, concerts and performing arts events.

The building presented some challenges in the overall design. Due to the spectator chairs providing very minimal ceiling space on the ground level, there was a limited amount of space available to run the mechanical, electrical, and communication services throughout the building. The advantage of designing the project in BIM was the ability to identify interferences prior to issues arising on site. This allowed Smith + Andersen to provide instructions to the contractor to install services at strict and enforced locations and heights as per the BIM design to avoid any potential problems with installations by other trades.

S + A Services Included:


The centre has been designed to function all year round, with special attention on controlling humidity during the demanding spring and summer seasons to avoid fog and condensation. Dehumidification systems utilizing gas fired desiccant technology were applied to maintain space dew point close to the ice surface temperature resulting in improved refrigeration plant operating efficiency. Heat rejected from the ice plant was set to be utilized for domestic hot water and building heating, to melt snow from ice resurfacing and to provide subfloor heating for frost protection. Demand controlled ventilation variable speed drives were used to reduce outdoor air ventilation loads and fan power at times of reduced occupancy.


High-efficiency fluorescent luminaires and LEDs are installed throughout the facility. There is a local line voltage lighting control in every space/room to reduce electrical load. The lighting control system for the rink is based on a simple relay system that allows it to dim to intervals of 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%.


Smith + Andersen provided sound system, broadcast infrastructure and production intercom design for the 4000-seat spectactor rink, lobbies and back-of-house spaces.


Rochester, New York

Gross Floor Area

  • 111,000 sq ft

Total Construction Cost

$ 38,000,000

Completion Year