Originally opened December 5, 1984 the Sam M. Vadalabene Center lends itself to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of SIUE for the purposes of education, health, recreation and wellness. The facility is the home to SIUE men's and women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling, and has a capacity of slightly above 4,000. It also serves as the indoor practice facility for softball, baseball and track.
Following spring commencement exercises in 2008, the facility underwent a $6 Million renovation, nearly tripling the number of chair back seats as well as adding new locker room, class room and office space. A new playing floor was also installed. The facility was officially "rededicated" February 7, 2009.
The largest crowd at the Vadalabene Center post-renovation, shown in the picture above, was 4,157 on Jan. 21, 2012 against Murray State University, a game televisied nationally on ESPNU.
An addition to the building is planned, to provide office space for the Athletics Department and a new athletic weight room.
In 2010 new locker rooms opened for men's and women's basketball and wrestling, while work continued on a new locker room for Cougar volleyball.
Through the years, the Vadalabene Center has been host to numerous other events, including the Illinois High School Association Class AA basketball sectionals, the Prairie State Games and the State Games of America. It also is the site for SIUE graduation exercises.
Furthermore, future NBA player Darius Miles led East St. Louis High School past Edwardsville High School in the championship game in front of a sell-out crowd at the Vadalabene Center. In 2002, rapper Nelly played a concert at the venue, and in May 2010, the Vadalabene Center was site to a Guinness World Record for most people clicking a pen at one time.
The "VC" is named for the late Illinois State Senator Sam Vadalabene, who long-championed the facility's construction. Senator Sam, as he was known, once said of the naming of the facility: "It is the greatest tribute that can be paid an individual."
Offering excellent educational programs, enthusiastic faculty and being a critical and functional part of SIUE's campus, the Vadalabene Center is another example of the University's commitment to its students and the community.