Built at a cost of $4 million, the Kiernan Center is Niagara University's all-in-one recreation complex. The 43,000-square-foot complex includes a six lane swimming and diving pool, four basketball courts, a racquetball court, weight room, cardiovascular and strength-training equipment, and an aerobic and dance area. More than 50 intramural, recreational and health/wellness programs are available to the NU community.
The facility is named for the Rev. Edward J. Kiernan, C.M. (1909-1980), who served as a teacher, dean and administrator from 1940 to 1957. He was especially respected for his wise counsel by World War II veterans who returned to school after the war. One of those veterans was William P. Leary, class of 1950. He and his wife, Marie, donated $1 million toward construction of the center and asked that it be named for Father Kiernan.
The Scaffidi Gymnasium, completed in 1969 and originally known as the East Gym, was incorporated into the Kiernan Center to form a centralized recreational complex. It was named in 1980 after Phil Scaffidi (1956-1980), a Niagara University athlete who was diagnosed as having cancer in December of his senior year. He died about 15 months later, but not until he had returned to the basketball court to set a new university assists record.
Renovations were completed on the Kiernan Center during the summer of 2012, with the removal of one racquetball court providing an additional 800 square feet of fitness space. New banners and windows were also installed.