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Dorton Arena

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J.S. Dorton Arena
Dorton Arena
Paraboleum
Dorton Arena
Location North Carolina State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, North Carolina
Opened 1952
Owner State of North Carolina
Operator State of North Carolina
Surface Ice, Concrete, Hardwood
Architect Matthew Nowicki, William Henley Dietrick
Former names State Fair Arena
Tenants Raleigh IceCaps (ECHL) (1991-1998)
Capacity 5,110- Arena Football and Hockey
7,610- Basketball

The J.S. Dorton Arena (known to its architect as the Paraboleum) is a 7,610-seat multi-purpose arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair. It was opened in 1952.

Incorporating an unusual elliptical design by Matthew Nowicki, of the North Carolina State University Department of Architecture, the Arena was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973. Originally named the "State Fair Arena", it was dedicated to Dr. J. S. Dorton, former North Carolina State Fair manager, in 1961.

Architect Matthew Nowicki was killed in an airplane crash before the construction phase, and local architect William Henley Dietrick supervised the completion of the arena using Nowicki's innovative design.

Its design features a steel cable supported saddle-shaped roof in tension, held up by parabolic concrete arches in compression. The arches cross about 20 feet above ground level and continue underground, where the ends of the arches are held together by more steel cables in tension. The outer walls of the arena support next to no weight at all.

The longest serving tenant was the Raleigh IceCaps (ECHL) ice hockey team from 1991–1998.

Besides hosting sporting events, the arena is also used for concerts during the North Carolina State Fair. Various conventions and fairs also use floorspace of the arena as an exhibition space, often in conjunction with the neighboring Jim Graham building.

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