UConn to start construction on new $70 million arena for men’s, women’s college hockey teams, set to open fall of 2022

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UConn trustees have given the go-ahead to construct a extremely anticipated new hockey rink on the Storrs campus, the place it will open in fall 2022 if all stays on schedule.

The trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday to authorize college officers to signal contracts for design, architectural and development actions for the two,600-seat area, which can be positioned adjoining to the present Freitas Ice Area within the Athletics District on Jim Calhoun Approach.

UConn joined Hockey East for males’s hockey beginning within the 2014-15 season, committing to offer an on-campus facility with acceptable area and facilities.

The brand new area will host all video games of the UConn ladies’s hockey crew – which has been a Hockey East member for the reason that 2002-03 season – and can be dwelling to the lads’s crew, which has performed on the XL Heart in Hartford.

“Before everything, I need to thank the college and the management for his or her dedication to this venture and to our hockey program,” Huskies males’s hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh stated in a press release. “This can be a nice day for the UConn hockey program. We’re excited that we are going to have a brand new rink to name dwelling on campus and for what that can imply to the continued progress of our program. This can be a state-of-the-art facility that can allow our gamers to proceed to get higher on daily basis and provides our program the power to achieve the following stage. That is an thrilling time for UConn hockey and we will’t look ahead to our followers and alumni to see this first-class facility.”

“On behalf of our program, I’d wish to thank the college management for his or her continued assist and energy for this venture,” added UCpnn ladies’s coach Chris MacKenzie. “This area will give us the chance to achieve the very best ranges of aggressive success and scholar athlete expertise.”

Within the bowl, the seating will include 80 % with seatbacks and 20 % on benches. The crew services will embody full Division I coaching and assist for the ladies’s and males’s groups, crew lounges, dry locker space and locker rooms with video shows, locker rooms for the visiting groups, coaching area with a hydrotherapy space, power and conditioning room and different areas akin to coaches’ workplaces, a press field, eating space, ice plant and areas for assist companies.

The brand new facility may also have a big center-hung show scoreboard with perimeter ribbon boards and can be designed to create an impressive expertise for followers with state-of-the-art sound and lighting options.

Followers may also be capable of entry an ice-level lounge behind the house goaltender with café desk seating and meals and beverage service. A student-only standing room deck may also be located behind the opposing goaltender.

The college had been engaged on plans for the brand new area earlier than the pandemic slowed that venture and others, and had initially hoped to have the sector constructed and opened for fall 2021. The plan to open in fall 2022 will rely upon elements akin to whether or not the pandemic and any post-pandemic situations have an effect on the development business, or whether or not different surprising delays happen.

The sector’s $70 million finances consists of $33 million from the sale of income bonds, repaid from non-state sources together with revenues from the power; $20 million in donations made particularly to assist the brand new area; and $17 million in College funds.

The $17 million in College funds will include $11.5 million that UConn obtained from promoting the previous West Hartford campus and the Nathan Hale Inn – proceeds which can be required to return into capital initiatives and can’t go to working bills – and $5.5 million in working funds from non-state sources.

The ultimate design may also embody points to make the power as environment friendly as attainable in vitality and water use, in step with the college’s dedication to make its capital initiatives as environmentally pleasant as attainable.

The brand new 97,300-square-foot facility may also meet all NCAA Division I ice hockey necessities and all Hockey East laws, which the Freitas Ice Discussion board doesn’t. With that in thoughts, Hockey East gave UConn some leeway when it allowed the college to hitch the convention for males’s hockey regardless of needing time to offer an acceptable facility.

The present Freitas Area will stay at its present website adjoining to the brand new rink. It can proceed for use for practices and different occasions, together with UConn’s membership hockey packages and a few neighborhood makes use of.

David Benedict, UConn’s director of athletics, has stated having on-campus video games may additionally assist construct the scholar fan base.

“I want to cross alongside my gratitude to school management for its continued dedication to athletics and for taking the ultimate step in making this venture a actuality,” Benedict stated. “Our males’s and girls’s ice hockey packages have been competing at a excessive stage below difficult circumstances, and the way forward for each packages obtained loads brighter at this time.”

UConn officers have stated additionally it is dedicated to sustaining the parking capability within the Athletics District space, recognizing that parking is tight in that space.

As a complementary venture, UConn trustees on Wednesday additionally accepted enhancements and reconstruction of the 360-space “I Lot” close to Freitas to interchange its pavement, regrade the bottom, and replace needed options such because the curbing, lighting, signage, pavement striping and so forth.

The enhancements could be accomplished throughout the identical timeframe because the ice hockey area’s development, with each opening in fall 2022.

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