Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Rodgers Recreation Center
63 Lawrence Ave,
Newport, RI 02840
Year Opened: 2000
Hoops Among the Mansions
Salve Regina University is a private Roman Catholic university located in Newport, RI. In Latin, Salve Regina translates to “Hail Queen,” which makes sense as the school began as a women’s college. Founded in 1934, the school is now coeducational, with an enrollment of 2,800 students in 40 majors. The school is best known today for its outstanding nursing programs. Nestled amongst Newport’s famous Gilded Age mansions, it has been ranked among the nation’s most beautiful colleges by both Architectural Digest and Conde Nast Traveler.
The Salve Regina basketball teams play in the Rodgers Recreation Center, named in honor of Thomas Rodgers Jr., a longtime trustee and benefactor of the University. The building of the recreation center was the cornerstone of the university’s 50th anniversary campaign.
Starting in 2023, Salve Regina competes in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference, a Division Three conference consisting of schools throughout New England. The Seahawks have qualified for two NCAA Tournaments, the most recent in 2011.
Food & Beverage 0
There is no food or beverages sold at Salve basketball games. Fans are welcome to bring in their own snacks to enjoy during the game. You’ll be sure to see many fans enjoying a warm beverage from the local Dunkin’ during a cold Rhode Island winter night.
As you might expect in a small gym like the Rodgers Center, you will not find an elaborate game day presentation at a Seahawks basketball game. A basic scoreboard on the far side of the gym displays game information, while a PA announcer goes about his work in an unobtrusive manner. There’s a cheerleading squad and pep band present, but they are rather muted when compared to many other area gyms. Most of the noise during Seahawk games comes from the families who do a good job of filling the tiny bleachers in the Rodgers Center.
Without a doubt, the biggest strength of the Rodgers Recreation Center is its location. Nestled in between Newport’s Gilded Age mansions and its famous Brick Market, there is plenty to do and see before and after a Seahawks basketball game.
Easton Beach and the famous Cliff Walk are just a stone’s throw from the Rodgers Center. A local’s tip: get to the area early and walk the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that runs behind many of Newport’s famous mansions atop a 70-foot shoreline cliff. The 40 Steps, one of the highlights of the Cliff Walk, are just two blocks from Salve’s gym. Just to the west of Rodgers Center is the Newport Casino, home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. After the game, head a half mile in the other direction to America’s Cup Avenue, where the Brick Marketplace contains numerous fine restaurants, pubs and shops. The area will be much less crowded during the winter months of the basketball season, but still worth a visit. Also located here is Cardines Field, one of the oldest ballparks still in use in the country.
Other attractions in Newport include Fort Adams State Park, Touro Synagogue (the oldest synagogue in the country) and the Newport Art Museum. Fans visiting the area will have no shortage of choices for dining, shopping or lodging. More complete information can be found at DiscoverNewport.org.
Salve Regina draws between 100-200 fans for most of their home games at the Rodgers Recreation Center. This is typically what we at Stadium Journey call a “Friends and Family” type of crowd. Most of the people in the stands have a personal connection with the players on the court. You’ll see lots of family members in the stands. As a result, the fans are invested in the game and show strong support throughout the game.
There’s a good turnout from the student body at Seahawk basketball game. With many games on Salve’s schedule consisting of local opponents, it’s not unusual to see a good turnout from visiting fans as well. Even though the crowds may be small, they do a good job of filling up the tiny grandstand at Rodgers Recreation Center.
Newport is a city of about 25,000 residents located at the southern tip of Aquidneck Island. Best known as a popular summer destination, this seaside town is famous for its Gilded Age mansions and sailing history.
Located 33 miles south of Providence and 74 miles south of Boston, it is not easily accessed by any highways. The closest interstate to Newport is I-195, which runs from Providence to Cape Cod about 20 miles north of Newport. Route 24 runs from Fall River down through the upper half of Aquidneck Island. Once the highway ends visitors will navigate Route 114 into the city.
Rodgers Recreation Center is located in the northern edge of Newport, just behind the Newport Casino and just blocks from the city’s famous Gilded Age mansions. This area is full of historic sites and a popular summer destination. While it may be a bit less crowded during the winter, it’s still not the easiest area to navigate.
There is plenty of parking near the Rodgers Center, either in the facility’s lot or on local streets. Just be sure to pay attention to signs, as many area streets have restrictions. There is some public parking available near the 40 Steps on Narragansett Avenue.
Seating at the Rodgers Center consists of one set of wooden bleachers on the west side of the court. Rest rooms are located right off the lobby. They are small, but plenty large enough for a Salve basketball crowd.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to a Salve basketball game are sold as General Admission seating for six dollars. Be warned that no cash is accepted here, you must buy your tickets electronically, either in advance or on your phone. The process is quick and easy for you phone novices out there. Parking is free in the lot adjacent to the center or on the nearby city streets.
Salve Regina displays its athletic history throughout the Rodgers Center. The school’s athletic Hall of Fame is located in the lobby. Inside the gym hang banners honoring conference titles, tournament appearances and 1,000-point scorers.
An additional extra point is awarded for the Rodgers Center’s design. It’s shingle-style exterior is meant to be a counterpart to its Gilded Age neighbors while echoing the look of the nearby Newport Casino and Isaac Bell house.
Even though a trip to the seaside city of Newport, Rhode Island isn’t on the mind of many basketball fans in the winter months, A trip to the Rodgers Recreation Center is worth your time. If the weather cooperates, a walk on the nearby Cliff Walk and a postgame stop at the Brick Market makes for a great Stadium Journey.