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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center - High Point Panthers


Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center 1050 Panther Drive High Point, NC 27268

Year Opened: 2021 Capacity: 5,000

 

The Panthers’ New Arena Reaches a High Point

High Point University is a private University located in High Point, NC. It was founded in 1924 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school has an enrollment of 5,850 students. High Point University offers seventy undergraduate majors and eighteen graduate majors.


The athletic teams at High Point University are known as the Panthers. They belong to the Big South Conference of NCAA Division I. High Point does not have a football program, so the basketball program is the primary sport during the late fall and winter months of the academic year. The Panthers basketball program has been around since 1927 when it played at the NAIA level through 1998. During its NAIA years, the team was a powerhouse, winning fifteen regular season titles and thirteen tournament championships.


The home of High Point basketball is the on-campus Nido and Marianne Qubein Arena and Conference Center. As the name suggests, the facility is a complex composed of a 5,000-seat athletic arena, a conference center, and a small hotel. For brevity’s sake, we will use Qubein Center in this review, as this is the portion of the facility we visited and reviewed.


The Qubein Center is named for Dr. Nido Qubein, the longtime president of High Point University. The arena opened in September 2021, just in time for the basketball season. Both the men’s and the women’s basketball programs play in the Qubein Center. The arena also hosts concerts, speakers, and school-wide events for the university.


Food & Beverage 4

There are eight concession stands, with five located along the concourse and three more at the suites level. The stands take both cash and credit cards.


Four of the concourse level stands carry identical merchandise, including pizza ($9), chicken tenders ($7), hot dogs ($4), nachos ($9), pretzels ($4), popcorn ($4), fries ($4) and candy ($3). Drinks include Coca-Cola brand sodas ($4), bottled water ($4), beer ($5), and wine ($7). There is one stand that sells sandwich combos, including Philly Cheesesteak/chips ($13), Pulled Pork sandwich/chips ($13), Angus beef sandwich/chips ($13), Beyond Burger/chips ($14), and Chicken Breast sandwich/chips ($12). We were unable to check out the stands at the suite level.


The concourse is enclosed in some sections and open to the court in others. There are monitors along the concourse, so you should not miss any of the action while you are getting your food.


Atmosphere 5

It will be obvious to you when you arrive in front of the Qubein Center that it is a one-of-a-kind facility. The circular drive goes around a large fountain with a 20-foot-tall bronze panther statue gracing its center. The building behind it has very dramatic lighting and lots of brick and glass along its front face. As you enter the building you will be on the first level of the building. The first level houses the ticket offices, dressing rooms, and other support areas.


The second level is the concourse level. It is very polished and has lots of artwork related to High Point University. There is a team store called the HPU Team Store and Panther Boutique located at this level. You will then go down into the seating bowl. The suite level is on the third level and is restricted to season ticket holders and major donors.


The concourse will take you 360 degrees around the court. A majority of the seats in the arena are below the concourse, while the suite level is above the concourse. The aisle markings along the concourse are easy to follow. If you have time, it is well worth it to walk around the concourse. There are informational stations along the way with displays on the history of High Point basketball, the top scorers in school history, trophies won by the various teams, and major upsets the Panthers have inflicted on major teams.


If you had not figured out what the Panther’s team colors were…. you will after you see the seating bowl. There is purple as far as your eye can see. The seating in Qubein Center surpasses anything we have experienced on our visits to college basketball arenas. The seats are all fold-down seats, with nicely padded areas to support your back and bottom. The seats are all purple.


There is not a bad seat in the house, as the pitch of the seating area is gradual enough that you are not looking at the back of someone’s head. Most of the seating is below the concourse, but there is a smaller set of seating at the third level of the arena known as the suites level.


As you descend the steps going down towards the court, make sure to check out the video board over the center of the court. You are looking at the second-largest video board in the state of North Carolina. It has screens on all four sides and provides very clear graphics no matter where you are in the seating bowl. It can project game statistics and replays all at the same time. The video board can also project images down onto the playing court, a feature typically found only in professional sports arenas. The seating bowl also includes not one, but two levels of ribbon boards that continuously carry updates throughout the game. High atop the arena and the seating bowl is a dome ceiling constructed totally of wood, giving the facility a very classic look.


The court below the videoboard is known as the Tubby and Donna Smith Court. Tubby Smith is a graduate of High Point University and coached the High Point University basketball team for several years. It is a very deserving honor for a coach who also led teams at the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Memphis. The court also has nice graphics featuring the High Point University logo at midcourt.


Neighborhood 5

High Point University is in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina. The Triad includes the cities of Greensboro, NC, High Point, NC, and Winston-Salem, NC. High Point is located 20 minutes from both Winston-Salem and Greensboro.


High Point’s claim to fame is the Home Furnishings Capitol of the World. There are more than one hundred furniture stores and outlets located in the city. One of the city’s major attractions also relates to the furniture industry, as High Point is the home of the Largest Chest of Drawers in the World.


The art piece is more than thirty-two feet high and is famous for the large number of people from all over the world who have their photo taken in front of the dresser. Another nearby point of interest is the statue of jazz musician John Coltrane, who was a native of High Point.


Both the Chest of Drawers and the Coltrane statue are located on Hamilton Street, just a few blocks from the university. If you are traveling with children, the Nido and Marianne Qubein Children’s Museum is well worth a visit.


There are a wide variety of national hotel chains located near the former Oak Hollow Mall. The Courtyard Marriott High Point offers special pricing for High Point University events. Austin’s Steakhouse and Brewery is located near the school and has a wide selection of craft beers.


Fans 4

Qubein Center has been quite a draw with both the students at the school, as well as the local population of High Point. There is a close relationship between the school and its neighbors, and they welcome the community to events held at the school. High Point basketball is the major sports event in the community unless you travel to the other cities in the Piedmont Triad.


The student section at Panthers games is known as Purple Reign. They are vocal and they attend home games in large numbers. More than 95% of the High Point student body lives on campus. The arena is within walking distance of many of the dorms and residential buildings on the campus.


Students can attend sports events on campus for free through the student activity fee. The student section at High Point home games is strategically located behind the baskets at each end of the court. By splitting the student section in this way, they can ensure a loud crowd will always be adjacent to the free-throw line to distract the visitors throughout the game.


The High Point University Pep Band and Prowler the Purple Panther work closely with the Cheer squad and the Dance team to keep the energy level high throughout the evening. Contests and giveaways take place during breaks in the action.


Access 4

The Qubein Center is easily accessible from anywhere in the Piedmont Triad area.


From Greensboro: Take I-85 South to Business 85 headed towards High Point. Take the South Main Street/High Point exit and turn right onto Main Street. Turn right onto College Drive. Turn right at Lexington, then take the first left into the campus via Panther Drive. Parking personnel will then direct you to the University Parkway lot.


From the South: Travel north on I-85. Take Business 85 North. Take the South Main Street/Archdale exit off Business 85 North and turn left. Turn right at College, then left onto Lexington. Turn into campus on Panther Drive. Parking personnel will direct you to the University Parkway lot.


From the West: Take I-40 East to Highway 311 South (Exit 196). At High Point take the North Main Street exit (Exit 65). Turn left at Hartley Drive Hartley becomes College Drive at the Oak Hollow Mall. Continue on College Drive, then turn right at Lexington. Take the first left onto campus via Panther Drive. Parking personnel will be on hand to direct you to the University Parkway lot.


There are a limited number of parking spaces immediately outside the Qubein Center. These spaces are reserved for season ticket holders and major donors. All other fans must park in the University Parkway lot down the street from the arena. Shuttles run throughout the evening to ferry people to the arena before the game and take people back to the parking lot afterward. There is no charge for parking or the shuttle.


Once you arrive at Qubein Center, five entry doors are adjacent to the front driveway. Doors to the arena open 90 minutes before tipoff, leaving you plenty of time to get something to eat and find your seat.


There are seven ladies’ rooms and five men’s rooms located along the concourse. You will only encounter a line for them shortly before the game and at halftime.

 

Return on Investment 5

Tickets for all Panther games are priced at $25.


The concession stands offer a wide variety of items at reasonable prices.


Parking is free for fans parking in the University Parkway lot. The shuttle between the parking lot and the arena is also free.


Extras 4

There is a great deal of public art throughout the Qubein Center. There is a series of prints located along the concourse entitled “Art of the Possible.” Each of the twelve prints features an illustration and a few words to outline the many ways High Point University can prepare students for a successful life.


There is a great photo opportunity awaiting you along the concourse. You will encounter a full-sized fiberglass version of Prowler, the team’s purple panther mascot. There is a chair for you to sit in for the photo, and the wall serving as a backdrop has some wonderful graphics to complete a very well-composed shot.


The Princeton Review rates High Point University as # 1 in the Country for Best College Dorms and # 9 for the Most Beautiful College Campus in the United States.


The Qubein Center hosted the 2024 Big South Conference Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament.


Final Thoughts

The Qubein Center is a stunning addition to the High Point University campus. The arena offers fans a professional level of amenities, including comfortable seating, an above-average video board, and an impressive set of dining options. Qubein Center also serves the High Point community through concerts, appearances by notable speakers, and other events throughout the year.

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