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Official Review by Joshua Guiher, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Allan P. Kirby Sports Center was originally built in 1973 as a standalone Field House but has grown into a gigantic 110,000 square foot sports center with intramural and recreational sports facilities. The major upgrade occurred in 2000 and cost $35 million with the upgrades to the Field House portion costing $2.5 million. Thankfully they left the facility as a great, intimate place to watch a basketball game.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
With a small arena comes a small concession stand. The concession area was just a few tables set up just off of the court and was easily accessible. The offering included hot dogs ($2), Cheeseburger ($3), nachos ($4), popcorn ($2) and Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels ($2). 20-ounce bottles of Coke products including soda, water and Powerade were all $2 each. The staff was comprised of two adults from the booster club. The cheeseburger I had was very good.
The atmosphere at Kirby Sports Center is great for the size of the school. In addition to the standard t-shirt tosses, they had wonderful little games during media timeouts that kept the kids in the stands entertained and into the action. The student section was small but loud and stood for the entire game. The most vocal fans however may have been the adults who, rightfully, chided the refs a few times for some questionable non-calls. One little thing that was missing was some sort of pep band although they did play a great assortment of music.
Lafayette is located in Easton, PA and has a lot of food and bar options. I personally stopped at Porter's Pub, which has a Mug Club where if you try all 60 of the different imported and micro brews, they award you with your own engraved pewter mug that is kept at the restaurant and displayed on racks that hang from the ceiling. They are open 7 days and week from 11am "" 2am.
As I mentioned earlier, the fans created a nice atmosphere. The crowd stayed into the game all the way until the final buzzer and was very loud despite a lopsided score. As loud as it was with a small crowd during this trip, it must be deafening when a rival school like Lehigh comes to town and the stands are packed.
Parking is free right outside on the street or there is a parking deck on the opposite side of the football complex where you can park for a few dollars. The bathrooms are spacious and extremely clean. You couldn't ask for anything more in the ease of access to the building and free parking is always an added bonus.
With seats being so close to the court and the atmosphere being so great, the return on investment for a Lafayette game at Kirby Sports Center is well worth it. Add in the fact that they have a good team and you have a great night out at a sporting event. I know if I lived in the area I would be there quite often.
A point for absolutely one of the nicest and most accommodating athletic staff you will find in the country. One additional point for having the best entertainment I have seen during TV stoppages and halftime. The activities for the kids included, but went well beyond, the typical t-shirt cannon. Final point for the great trophy display in the lobby which highlights the history of athletics at Lafayette.
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