Virginia Beach, Va. (Virginia Wesleyan Communications) - Virginia Wesleyan University’s Convocation Hall will soon become TowneBank Arena in the Jane P. Batten Student Center, thanks to a generous gift from community partner TowneBank. The home of the Marlins is now under renovation and will have a brand new look this August.
“We are excited to upgrade our facility not only for our athletic teams and special events, but for the comfort of our devoted Marlin fans,” said Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the University. “We are so grateful to TowneBank and thank them for their continued investment in intercollegiate athletics at Virginia Wesleyan.”
The new TowneBank Arena will include 360-degree grandstand seating, a design that accommodates growing attendance, creates a greater competitive atmosphere, and enhances the experience for athletes, students, and fans. The new arena will hold approximately 2,000 spectators.
The Donald M. Forsyth Court will be updated and refinished to incorporate a vibrant new design with the TowneBank logo and the VWU Marlin. Additions also include team sideline chairs, updated scoreboards, and an NCAA specification scorer’s table.
TowneBank Arena will feature team locker rooms—including the recently renovated NBA-style locker rooms for men’s and women’s basketball—the Marlin athletic training facility managed by Sentara Health, the Virginia Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame, and a redesigned All-American wall.
The space will now enable direct access to the second-level Jacklyn and Raymond D. Pearce Suite (dedicated to Marlin Athletic Fund supporters) and Intercollegiate Athletics offices. An indoor track is also located on the second level.
The Jane P. Batten Student Center and Convocation Hall, home to the Marlins since opening in 2002, is a staple in the student experience. It served as the venue for Virginia Wesleyan’s Commencement Ceremonies from 2002 to 2018, before it was relocated to the University Commons in 2019. Convocation Hall has also played host to national entertainers, presidential and political candidates, the Virginia Special Olympics, featured on ESPN as host to professional sports competitions, and numerous special events for local charities.
Posting an impressive at-home winning percentage of 84 percent, Marlins basketball has added such accolades as 11 appearances in the NCAA tournament. This includes seven Sweet Sixteen appearances, four Elite Eights, three Final Fours, and was crowned the 2006 NCAA National Champion. Women’s basketball won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship in 2015 and volleyball claimed the ODAC crown in 2019.
“This place is beyond a building, it’s the heart of VWU,” said Jason Seward, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, who manages the facility. “We are excited to transform the space to TowneBank Arena and we look forward to the countless memories that will be made here by our students and the some 50,000 annual guests that walk through the doors.”
TowneBank has provided valuable support for other VWU athletic projects as well. Last spring Virginia Wesleyan celebrated the dedication of Tom and Betty Broyles Field at TowneBank Park—a “field of dreams” for VWU’s back-to-back national championship softball team, made possible by the generosity of Bob Aston, Executive Chairman of TowneBank, and the TowneBank Foundation. In addition, TowneBank has provided support for VWU’s Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony and athletic events such as the “Cross-Bay Rivalry.”