Facilities / Directions
Pan American Center
New Mexico State University is home to one of the finest arenas in all of the southwest in the Pan American Center. The Pan Am has been home to the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the NM State volleyball team for over three decades and has hosted thousands of other events. 2017-18 will mark the 50th season of Basketball at the Pan American Center.
The arena, which currently has a seating capacity of 12,482, has hosted the NCAA Men’s Basketball Midwest Regional, several NCAA first round games, state high school basketball tournaments and hundreds of concerts featuring some of the top entertainers in America including George Strait, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam and Notorious B.I.G.
The complex first opened its doors on Nov. 30, 1968 for the New Mexico State men’s basketball team. When the facility was constructed nearly four decades ago, the price tag on the facility was a monstrous $3.5 million and was part of a university wide $22 million construction program that included the Corbett Center and two observatories on campus.
The Pan American Center, which was designed by W.C. Kruger and Associates of Santa Fe and is presently valued at considerably more than the construction price back in 1968, is one of the finest sports facilities in the southwest and one of the largest in the Rocky Mountain region.
Paul Rader, a former NM State vice president, tabbed it as the Pan American Center because of its position along Interstate 25, also known as the Pan American Highway and the continuing programs with communities throughout the western hemisphere.
On Oct. 10, 2005, a $23.5 million renovation and expansion project on the complex began. A new annex building was added to the south end of the arena that features offices, practice facilities and locker rooms, which opened in November 2006 and the final renovation project was completed before the 2007 WAC Basketball Championships.
The upgrades to the arena greatly improved access and amenities throughout the building and created a more modern and competitive athletic team facility.
Other key features added in the renovations were a new concourse below the upper level seating, six new concessions stands, new restroom facilities (approximately double the number of men’s facilities and quadruple the number of women’s facilities), two elevators providing access from the concourse in the south lobby to the court level and ADA compliant seating on the concourse and court levels.
A brand new center-hung jumbotron was also added in the Pan American Center, which with the help of AggieVision, the in house television production team, fans can see the game live, watch replays to go along with other features on the state-of-the-art jumbotron.
Entering this season, the men’s and women’s basketball programs and the volleyball team has had tremendous success in its home arena, where the Aggie fans have welcomed opponents to Las Cruces with a fierceness and a tenacity, both on the court and in the stands, the like of which are hard to find elsewhere in college athletics.
In 1998-99 and in 1999-00, the Pan American Center was named the “Toughest Place to Play,” in the Big West Conference by Dick Vitale’s College Basketball Preview.
The Men's Basketball team is gearing up for its 50th consecutive season in the complex in 2017-2018. The Aggies have an astonishing record of 605-152 in the Pan American Center, after going 16-1 in the Pan Am Center in 2016-17.
The Aggie men’s team has had four undefeated seasons in the complex, including a then-school-best 16-0 mark during the 1989-90 campaign. Other undefeated seasons came in 1969-70 (15-0), 1970-71 (14-0) and 1979-80 (14-0).
NM State women’s basketball team made the permanent move from the Activity Center over to the Pan Am at the start of the 1976-77 season thanks to head coach Karen Fey engineering the move.
The 2017 volleyball season will be the 30th year for the Aggie volleyball team in the Pan American Center. It was late in the 1987 season when the Aggies played their first volleyball match in the Pan Am. After a trial run resulted in crowds of 2,142 and 3,057 attending matches against I-25 rival New Mexico and BYU, the Aggies officially moved from their former home in the Student Activity Center.
The largest crowd ever to attend an Aggie volleyball match was 7,115 on Oct. 1, 2005 against Hawai’i.