Cleveland State University Convocation Center (Wolstein Center)

Cleveland State University Convocation Center (Wolstein Center)
Cleveland State University Convocation Center (Wolstein Center)

At the time of its completion in 1991, Cleveland State University’s Convocation Center, with a maximum seating capacity of 15,000 occupants, was the largest university-owned arena in Ohio.

Designed by architect URS-Dalton Consultants of Cleveland, it consists of a crisp half brick/half metal ovoid with glazed shed canopies atop massively-framed steel tubing. A perimeter of plazas, green lawns, and lush annuals sculpts itself around the building to fill its trapezoidal site.

Built at a cost of $55 million, the indoor arena facility replaced the former Woodling Gym, and planted Cleveland State’s expanding footprint southward to Carnegie Avenue. This gave the facility ready access and visibility from interstates entering the city, as well as a substantial number of daily passersby on heavily traveled Carnegie Avenue and Prospect Avenue.

The arena was renamed The Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Convocation Center in early 1995, in commemoration of well-known alumnus and local real estate developer ‘Bart’ Wolstein, founder of Developers Diversified Realty (now DDR). Among locals, the special event facility is commonly called simply the Wolstein Center.

In addition to being the home arena of Cleveland State’s men’s and women’s basketball squads, the facility was the former home of the Cleveland Force indoor soccer teams. The arena is used for a variety of concerts, shows, conferences, boxing bouts, speeches, corporate functions, exhibitions, trade shows, NCAA and other basketball tournaments, wrestling matches, roller derbies, and even bull riding competitions.

In 2001, to increase the visibility and marketability of the center, its management company enlisted ZZ Design to create a new primary identification sign along the facility’s Carnegie Avenue frontage. The resulting portal-style dual-pole sign mimics the structure and architectural style of the arena, and incorporates a large full-color animated LED videoboard for the announcement and promotion of an ever-changing calendar of events.

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