There are few places where you can catch a college basketball game and practice your stickhandling under the same roof, but after this weekend, residents of Clarksville will be able to do just that.
After nearly a decade in the works, the long-awaited F&M Bank Arena will officially open its doors in Downtown Clarksville with a grand opening ceremony this Saturday at 11 a.m.
“The Grand Opening celebration is set to ignite Clarksville with a whirlwind of festivities, fun, and unforgettable moments,” SS&E Vice President & General Manager Danny Butler said. “This event isn’t just about a venue – it’s a highly anticipated celebration that will reverberate throughout our community.”
The arena and its adjoining Ford Ice Center are the latest extension of the Nashville Predators’ footprint in Middle Tennessee, this time into a community both passionate about sports and hungry for a premier live entertainment center to call their own.
“We really wanted to impact downtown Clarksville,” Butler said. “And with the area growing and big business coming here, it’s an area that needs entertainment.”
To get started, the Preds collaborated with Montgomery County and former county Mayor Jim Durrett, knowing the positive impact they could make on the surrounding region, but unsure of what sort of facility to build.
“At first it was two sheets of ice like at Ford Ice Center,” Butler said. “Then it was just an arena. Then we talked about maybe an amphitheater downtown and about Minor League Baseball. We looked at a million different ideas but we kept coming back to the arena with some sort of ice.”
With a clear vision in sight, the group added two more partners into the mix, inviting Austin Peay State University to become the venue’s full-time tenant and selling the coveted arena naming rights to local business F&M Bank.
Starting in 2023, the arena will become home for both the Governors’ Men’s and Women’s basketball programs, helping bring both the student body and Peay fanbase to downtown Clarksville – another step in transforming the town into an entertainment destination.
“The hope is to tie things into the campus to bring some excitement,” Butler said. “They can skate, they can easily go to events. And then the community as a result grows around it.”
In addition to APSU basketball, the arena – one of the only buildings in Tennessee with both live entertainment space and a full-sized ice rink – will play host to a variety of different events.
“The uniqueness was so important for the building,” Butler said. “It allows anybody to do different things. If you look at the run of different events we host, it just allows for everything.”
Visitors attending Saturday’s grand opening will get to experience that variety firsthand, with the day including arena tours, public skating, meet & greets with APSU players and much more.
For more information about this weekend’s grand opening, check out the details below:
F&M Bank Arena Grand Opening! Kicking off with a ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference, guests will be able to participate in arena tours, meet players and staff from the APSU basketball teams, ice skate at the Ford Ice Center and much more.
For a complete list of activities,click here.
In attendance will be F&M Bank President and CEO Sammy Stuard, Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, APSU Athletic Director Gerald Harrison, Predators President & CEO Sean Henry, Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden and SS&E Vice President Danny Butler.
Festivities will begin with the ribbon cutting on Saturday, July 15 at 11 a.m. and the celebration will conclude around 3 p.m..
The ceremony and all related activities will occur in the heart of Clarksville at F&M Bank Arena (101 Main St., Clarksville, TN 37040)
Medical bags, parenting bags, CLEAR bags (12″x12″x6″) and NON-CLEAR bags (6.5″x4.5″ or smaller) will be permitted following screening. Backpacks of any kind are NOT permitted.