The Thomas M. Ryan Center serves as the indoor home of University of Rhode Island's men's and women's sports, as well as providing a multipurpose entertainment venue for southern Rhode Island. The building is the capstone of a large series of connected physical education, sports and recreation builidings on URI's lower campus. By siting the Ryan Center parallel to Meade Stadium, the Rams' home football stadium, the arena is able to serve as a locker and support facility for the stadium as well, including unique two-way suites that provide views of football as well as arena activities.
The building design combines the brick vocabulary of the lower campus with the stone architecture of URI's historic quad. Three "lighthouse" stairwells unite the upper and lower levels with dramatic spaces that recall the maritime traditions of the university and the state.