Since its first event on December 1, 1990, Wright State University’s Nutter Center has continually been a premier facility. In 1986 Ervin J. Nutter, a local businessman, engineer, inventor and philanthropist, donated $1.5 million to initiate the construction of the facility. After the initial donation from Mr. Nutter, the facility was funded by $8 million from the state and Wright State University student fees. The facility took a total of 20 months to complete with 400 workers. Totaling 260,000 square feet, Wright State’s Nutter Center is able to accommodate concerts, basketball games, ice shows, and circuses for as many as 11,500 people. Included in the 260,000 square feet are 18 luxury suites around the concourse level, four additional basketball/volleyball courts, a recreational running track, a fully-equipped weight room, a multipurpose room, dressing rooms, and classrooms.
Wright State University’s men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams have called Wright State’s Nutter Center home since its doors opened. It has also played host to many other sports teams. An indoor professional soccer team, the Dayton Dynamo, played at Wright State’s Nutter Center for the 1990-1991 season. When the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL decided to move to Wright State’s Nutter Center from Hara Arena in 1996, an ice floor was installed. They played at the facility from 1996-2009. Although the Bombers no longer call Wright State’s Nutter Center home, the ice floor is still used for ice performances throughout the year. The Dayton Bulldogs, an indoor football team, used the arena for a short period in 2006. Since 1991 the Ohio High School Athletic Association has been using Wright State’s Nutter Center for numerous district, regional, and state competitions.
In its first 7 months of being open, Wright State’s Nutter Center had already booked 120 events. Since then it has continued to be a stop on many major concert tours. KISS, Cirque du Soleil, The Harlem Globetrotters, Jay-Z, Toby Keith, Motley Crue, Carrie Underwood, Elton John, Disney On Ice, Kid Rock, Tina Turner, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Ke$ha, Jason Aldean, Aretha Franklin and Blue Man Group have all performed at Wright State’s Nutter Center (along with countless others). With the flexibility of being able to hold 3,000 people for a small concert to 11,500 for a sold out show, Wright State’s Nutter Center is able to attract a wide variety of touring shows. Cher, Bob Dylan, Kenny Chesney, Aerosmith, Rascal Flatts, Def Leppard, KISS and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra have all visited Wright State’s Nutter Center on at least two of their tours. The WWE has also made numerous appearances including several nationally televised live events.
Wright State University’s Nutter Center also has some high profile political history. It has played host to two major political events. Barack Obama held his “Keeping America’s Promise” rally on February 25, 2008, at Wright State’s Nutter Center. Then on August 29, 2008, John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate in the presidential race. This event was highly publicized by media from around the world.
Even furthering its diversity, every year Wright State’s Nutter Center hosts numerous high school and college graduations. Since its first Wright State University Commencement in 1990, Wright State’s Nutter Center has hosted this event filling the arena with family and friends of the graduates. High schools in the area also use Wright State’s Nutter Center for graduation because of its size and central location. Some of the high schools that have used Wright State’s Nutter Center are Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairborn, Fairmont, Wayne, Springboro, Northmont, Miamisburg, and Franklin.