The date was October 4, 2014, and a crowd gathered around Terry and Kim Pegula as they joined Houghton College President Shirley A. Mullen and other distinguished guests on the platform at the college campus. With a snip of the scissors, they cut the ribbon on the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex (KPAC) at Houghton, officially opening the center and completing a project that began with the Pegulas’ initial $12 million gift.
Since that time, the KPAC has become a pivotal economic force in Allegany County and the Western New York region, bringing approximately 30,000 visitors to the area last year. Local and regional economies have received a significant boost with the KPAC, as event participants and guests bring new activity to restaurants, local lodging, and small businesses.
In the past year, the KPAC has hosted:
- Clinics uniting local audiences and high schoolers with Olympians, including Tamika Catchings (basketball), Jennie Finch (softball), and Jake Kaminski (archery). Jen Suhr (track and field) has also trained at the facility.
- Major recording artists like Tenth Avenue North and Toby Mac, who drew a sold-out crowd of more than 4,000 people.
- Major conferences and expos, including the Western New York Great Outdoorsman Expo.
- Indoor track meets every weekend from December through February for Sections V and VI of The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, bringing upwards of 1,000 athletes and spectators per event.
Marshall Green, the KPAC facilities marketing and event coordinator, is one of the individuals seeking out these new and exciting opportunities for the college and the regional economy. “We’re bringing top talent to Houghton and to the region through athletic events, conferences, and notable performers. With our state-of-the-art, 115,000-square-foot facility, the possibilities are endless,” he notes.
Projections for 2017 indicate a potential of 60,000 visitors for a wide range of events, including:
- Clinic and 5K with Olympian Ryan Hall (track and field), U.S. record holder for the full and half marathons and who recently completed the World Marathon Challenge
- Grammy-Award Winner and recording artist Michael W. Smith
- Grammy-Award Winner Laura Story
- Second-Annual Western New York Great Outdoorsman Expo
- New York/Pennsylvania Ultimate Frisbee Tournament
- The WNY Arts, Antique, and Jewelry Show
Learn more about events at the KPAC at http://www.kpacevents.com.