Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex has had, and continues to have, its impact on Indiana County and its economy, according to a study done by a Cleveland, Ohio, firm.
“The overall impact is amazing for the size of the market,” Hotel & Leisure Advisors told IUP Assistant Vice President for Administration Samuel Phillips, who presented H&LA’s findings to the IUP Council of Trustees during a Thursday morning presentation.
H&LA reported that combined impacts of construction, visitor spending and KCAC operations and tax revenue was $188.1 million for the 148,500-square-foot White Township complex.
The findings cover patronage between March 4, 2011, when the complex was opened along Pratt Drive at Wayne Avenue, and June of last year, not long after Frank Vitarelli of Reynoldsville, Jefferson County, was honored as the one-millionth patron to enter the complex.
“This is an incredible milestone for any facility, and to achieve this in less than 10 years of operation is just incredible,” Phillips said in a news release marking that milestone. “It’s truly a testament to the hard work of the Kovalchick Complex staff and management, as well as reflection of the support from our partners and our patrons.”
It was part of what up until then was a record-breaking year for KCAC.
December 2018 turned out to be the best single month, at the end of the best year-to-date for the facility.
There were nine holiday dinner/party events, up from four in December a year ago, with attendance up from 1,125 to 1,870.
There were such events as B.C. Taylor’s Christmas concert and tribute to his late father, B.E. Taylor; the Cirque Dreams-Holidaze show; IUP men’s and women’s basketball; and a quarterly meeting of the Council of Trustees in the PNC Room of the KCAC.
The Cleveland-based company’s study also takes into consideration the construction of KCAC, which began in 2009.
According to H&LA, the final impact of construction including direct impact and indirect or induced impact totals $90.3 million, while the combined final impact of direct and indirect visitor spending plus direct and indirect impact from KCAC operations over that first 7-1/3 years is $88.9 million, or $12.1 million annually.
IUP owns the complex, which stands on the edge of the university campus, across Pratt Drive from the Hilton Garden Inn, a six-story, 128-room facility the university wanted to have in place when the KCAC opened, but wasn’t built until November 2016. The university also owns the hotel, which is managed by Hospitality Asset Management Company of State College.
Global Spectrum (now Spectra) managed KCAC from March 2011 until March 2016, when Pinnacle Venue Services of Virginia Beach, Va., and San Antonio, Texas, took over.
“We have been very pleased with the work that Spectra has provided as the management company for the facility,” Phillips said when the KCAC management contract changed hands. “We feel certain that success will continue in all ways, and that the transition to a new management company will be positive and seamless.”
University officials said H&LA drew upon three sources of independent analysis:
• The Regional Input-Output Modeling System II or RIMS II from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, which provides multipliers for output, earnings, and employment by industry aggregation.
• The Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism in Pennsylvania — County Data, Pittsburgh & Its Countryside for calendar year 2016 prepared by Tourism Economics.
• The Pennsylvania Annual Travel Profile — 2015 Travel Year prepared by Longwood.
The university said H&LA also drew on similar studies for other conference and event center locations.