The future of UVM athletics
Proposed new arena to hold 6,000 spectators, cost $60 million
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 22:10
They may not be picking out treatments for the window drapes just yet, but administrators say that a new sports arena is on the agenda.
The facility has been discussed in broad terms, but a specific construction date has yet to be decided, Director of Athletics Bob Corran said.
“We do have a large chunk of it figured out,” Corran said. “We know that it will be a facility that is more functional than comfortable.”
While it may not feature “marble floors and brass trimmings,” Corran said the proposed arena will seat between 6,000 and 6,500 spectators, making it the largest event facility in Vermont — an honor that currently belongs to Gutterson Field House.
The arena would house the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams as well as possibly a minor league hockey team, the Cynic reported last year.
The proposed site for the new event center will be between the Patrick Gym and Gutterson, according to a 2009 Campus Life Task Force II report organized by the Board of Trustees.
But a brand-new facility will not come cheap.
“I would expect any successful project like this at UVM to be in the $60 to $85 million range,” Vice President of Finance Richard Cate said. “The source of the funding for this will be done through private gifts.”
The report stated that funding the entire athletic facility overhaul — which amounts to approximately $189 million, including the new arena — can be broken down as follows:
- $25 million in fundraising
- $30 million in early student fee collection
- $2 per ticket facility fee
- The remainder through University bonds backed by building revenue and student fees.
Still, even with a $60 million price tag, Corran said he believes a new arena is much needed, especially because of its dual function as both a stadium for sports teams and a space for community ceremonies.
The plan for a new multipurpose center was a result of the trustees’ task force, in which students and faculty members strongly indicated that UVM’s current athletic facilities were inadequate and outdated.
Despite a slight decrease in student enrollment, gym usage this year has gone up considerably, something that Corran attributes to the proximity of the Redstone Lofts.
Director of Student Life Thomas Gustafson said in a previous Cynic article that when Gutterson was built in 1963, the entire campus could fill it.
The problem, he said, is that the University’s population has since doubled — and coaches and student athletes alike say that there just isn’t enough room.
President Tom Sullivan said that he had observed these problems firsthand, and stated in an email that connecting with prospective donors would be key to making the new facility a reality.
“If we are able to realize the significant amount of funding that we need, we may be able to address this situation sooner rather than later,” Sullivan said.
While the question has now shifted from ‘if’ to ‘when,’ administrators said that the project is still a long way off and it’s unlikely that current students will ever get to experience the new facility as undergraduates.
“The arena is on the list with 38 other projects,” Cate said. “It’s in the middle of the pack.”
Corran said he agreed, although he estimated that the actual construction time would be between 18 and 22 months. Any details beyond that are largely unknown.
“I can guarantee you it will not be done in the next five weeks; it’s a long-term project,” Corran said. “The greater uncertainty at the moment is getting it started.”