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Discussion Starter #1
How does UVM President Dan Fogel stepping down effect UVM's plan for a new arena? In a recent article in the BFP Fogel was quoted.....

One main regret of his tenure-- adding that one last building to his legacy.

"I wish someday that we'll have that arena," Fogel said. "We're working on it now."

http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=14306420

I figured we could keep this thread updated when/if any information surfaces about this dream.
 

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What would be the ideal capacity for a dual hockey/hoops facility for UVM in Burlington assuming continued membership in both HE and AE?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The latest on the capacity that I know of is at least 6,500 people for hockey and 7,500 for basketball. They also hope it will accommodate concerts and other events, and must be located on or within a mile of the main campus.

http://www.vermontcynic.com/uvm-scores-new-arena-1.2468630

Nine proposals were returned before the Jan. 23 cutoff date for construction ideas for a new multipurpose arena, according to the Burlington Free Press.

The proposals contained information about the number of people the buildings would hold, the estimated cost of construction and who would pay for the construction, the Burlington Free Press stated.

"If approved, the arena would seat 6,500 people for hockey and 7,500 for basketball, costing upwards of $85 million financed by private partnerships," the Burlington Free Press stated.

However, the proposals will not be made public until March, Vice President of Student and Campus Life Tom Gustafson said.

"The proposals [will] not be made public until after administrators decide on which plan to pursue," Gustafson said.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
http://blogs.burlingtonfreepress.com/highered/2011/01/27/who-needs-a-new-arena-not-world-class-hockey-players/

The drumbeat for a new UVM arena began so long ago that the need for an updated, expanded athletic complex has become accepted wisdom: The ‘60s-vintagePatrick Gym and Gutterson Field House are embarrassingly obsolete and undersized in the world of intercollegiate athletics.

The recent decision by USA Hockey to hold the April 2012 World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship at UVM raises an obvious question, however. If Gutterson is so substandard, how come it qualifies as a venue for an international tournament? Or to put it another way: If UVM’s facilities are good enough to host a global competition, does the university really need a new arena after all?

We put those questions to UVM athletic director Bob Corran, but before we get to his answers, here’s a quick update on where the campaign to build a new UVM arena stands:

In November, UVM put out a Request for Information inviting proposals from consultants on how a new multipurpose arena – which would likely cost around $100 million – could be built, financed and operated. UVM has no funding in sight, having curtailed capital borrowing during the recession, and in the absence of a rich alumnus willing to foot the bill, is willing to consider private partnership arrangements that would meet the university’s needs.
Nine proposals were received by the Jan. 21 deadline. UVM won’t say who made the submissions or what they proposed, other than that some proposals came from Vermont. (We know of a firm in Williston that was offering the prospect of a minor-league sports tie-in.) Tom Gustafson, vice president for student and campus life, said it will probably be mid-March before administrators decides on which proposal to go with, if any. Once a consultant is selected, he said, all the proposals will be made public.

Presumably the proposals all draw from the work of UVM’s Campus Life Task Force II, which conducted a comprehensive study of university facilities in 2008 and put out a two-volume report that ranked a multipurpose arena high on the wish-list. The report included detailed descriptions of the superior athletic complexes at peer institutions, from UNH to Miami of Ohio, with which UVM competes for students. As for UVM’s own athletic facilities, the report noted that many of them do not meet conference or NCAA standards, that locker rooms and press facilities are inadequate, and that “Patrick Gym and Gutterson Field House exclude the university from hosting any postseason conference tournaments.”

We asked Corran what it is about Gutterson that excludes UVM from holding tournaments. In an e-mail, he mentioned standards for men’s collegiate hockey that include seating capacity (Gutterson seats 4,035), insufficient number and size of locker rooms and support areas, size and quality of hospitality areas, media work areas, and so on.

OK, so if Gutterson doesn’t measure up for postseason college tournaments, how can it be good enough for the international women’s tournament? Corran’s reply:

Cairns Arena in South Burlington is also a tournament site and will host approximately half of the tournament games. Seating capacity at Cairns is approximately 1,200. USA Hockey was interested in hosting this tournament in a smaller city to avoid being ‘lost’ among the multiple sport and entertainment options available in larger cities. Also, one of their goals is to have the games well-attended, thereby creating a more vibrant atmosphere for players and fans alike. This tournament has not been well-attended historically other than when it is played in Canada. … Burlington’s proximity to Canada and a rabid fan base for international women’s hockey was also a major factor in selecting Burlington/UVM…. Since Gutterson will be hosting only 4 teams (Cairns will also host 4), and both our men’s and women’s teams will have completed their seasons leaving their locker rooms available for use by the women’s tournament teams, we can accommodate teams’ basic needs.”

The rationale for a new arena is a strong as ever, Corran concluded:

University needs extend beyond a hockey venue. There is also a significant need for a new venue for men’s and women’s basketball games ad a venue to gather the campus community together for events such as graduation, convocation, major speakers, student concerts, etc. …

Hosting this event in Gutterson and Cairns Arena does not diminish the significant need for a multipurpose events center on campus.”

Tags: basketball, Gutterson Field House, hockey, intercollegiate athletics, multipurpose arena, Patrick Gym, UVM

4 Responses to “Who needs a new arena? Not world-class hockey players”
UVM Alum in the West says:
January 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm
I think the fact that the tourney is being hosted in Vermont doesn’t necessarily say that the arena is adequate, but rather, that Women’s Hockey isn’t going to produce a big enough draw where they need something superior to the Gut. Not taking anything away from the women’s game, but the fact is, people don’t go watch it. I hope it sells out every game, but in a bigger arena, it wouldn’t. As for the current building: Gutterson was a dump when John LeClair played there in the 80’s, it was a dump when I watched Tim Thomas and Marty play there in the 90’s, it was a dump when I was a student there in the last decade. Fact is, Vermont needs to catch up with the times. How do they expect to recruit top athletes to play at UVM? What will they tout? “It gets really freakin cold here, and you get to play in a drafty old barn or gym?” Take a look at the Whit at UNH, or Agganis at BU. Could we get those players with a nice arena? Yes. Is there a benefit to the university and the state in recruiting top athletes? Yes. What many are looking at as a financial burden will eventually increase profits in extraordinary amounts. If you build it, they will come.

George Milo says:
January 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm
Now UVM is finally coming out of its shell: Billie Jean King World Class Tennis pro wikll give the Commencemet address and now an NCAA world class Hocky arena. Now all the University has to accomplish is: Live up to this Alums expectations of a World Class University . I hate to say this but one that has been to the Mecca of world class academic institutuions UVM is going to need different leadership to accomplish that goal. UVM doesn’t even know where its academic strengths are located at UVM -Now how is a Universty going to achieve that goal when it doesn’t even recognize where or how to take its first step? This could be labeled an academic conundrum.

George Milo says:
January 29, 2011 at 7:25 am
To:”UVM alum in the West “and others that support the construction of a new Arena on the UVM Campus for a “World Class hockey team” at a “World Class University” -WOW you talk about distortion. Last year you couldn’t spell it and today we are one! WORLD CLASS! Next build it and theywill come? Maybe! Maybe not! Hockey at most Academic institutions in the United States is a club sport not a pro sport or a College major sport?. So maybe they will come and maybe they won’t ? Vt has 621,000 real prop taxpayers Montreal and Boston the two nearest major cities have professional hockey and over 4 million population numbersthat could pay for a new arena not Vt’ers have them pay for the constrction of the arena. Why do you think the Boston hockey team changed their name from Boston to New England hockey team-YUP-lack of draw. I rather doubt that a Univerity commtment to spending$’s to build a new arena will draw. Sorry

Philip says:
January 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm
It’s time the Cats had the opportunity to host their conference tournaments. Local businesses are really missing out when these events can’t come to Burlington. I’d like to say it’s time for a new arena but it was time for a new arena about 20 years ago. I hope they are able to get creative enough in their fund raising to get this thing done.
 

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Vermont and SB definitely need improvements on their arena... Having High School gyms at the University level is just sad. We need the America East teams to put some effort to improve their campus structures
 

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Vermont and SB definitely need improvements on their arena... Having High School gyms at the University level is just sad. We need the America East teams to put some effort to improve their campus structures
Yes! The same way we need the America East teams to recruit better player and schedule better teams during their non-conference schedules.
 

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The latest on the capacity that I know of is at least 6,500 people for hockey and 7,500 for basketball. They also hope it will accommodate concerts and other events, and must be located on or within a mile of the main campus.
I would think that 7,500 for hoops is bigger than really needed for UVM basketball. This facility however is not just for hoops as it would be for hockey and general entertainment in the Burlington area as no such facility currently exists anywhere in the state.

These types of venues are tricky/risky for colleges. BU's 7200 seat Agganis seems to work well for hockey and fills a niche in the Boston market for a first class entertainment option for a facility with a much smaller capacity than the Garden. It seems to get a fair amount of non-BU events all throughout the year. It is however as has been often discussed here far too large for Terrier basketball. It is in my view the nicest on campus venue in New England from what I have seen.

The 9,300 seat Mullins Center at UMass is nice. It has both hoops and hockey so it is busy from late November to early March. It also hosts many other non-UMass events such as concerts. It however has to compete with the slightly smaller Mass Mutual Center in nearby Springfield which has the benefit of being closer to a larger population. While 9,300 seats seemed fine during the UMass hoops glory days of the 90's, the basketball team is very hardpressed to get crowds as it is now drawing in the 2k-4k range for almost all games. College hockey actually now outdraws basketball in Amherst.

The 7,657 seat Ryan Center at URI is primarily for basketball as it does not have an ice surface. The facility hosts non-URI events such as concerts and family shows but has not attracted the number of bookings originally projected. Its fairly close proximity to the 13k seat Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and 10k seat Mohegan Sun Arena in nearby SE Ct probably hurt it. Since it opened in 2002, the basketball teams has averaged in the low to mid 5000 range.

Both URI and UMass contract out the management of their arenas to an outside management company (Global Spectrum) which manages the facility and books acts.

I would think a facility in Burlington could serve many needs. It however would likely be very expensive. URI's arena without an ice surface cost 54 million dollars to construct almost a decade ago. With inflation in construction costs and mandated state building regs, I would think a multi-purpose facility of the size being proposed for Burlington would cost much more today.
 

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Unless they think the hockey team can fill that night in and night out - then don't bother building it that big - Burlington doesn't have the population bases of those other cities that you discussed. The basketball team has a great following, but not 7,500 worth and as we saw in Boston, the building was just way too big for them even in a championship game. If they have to build, build a true multipurpose facilitiy with a slightly smaller capacity that can be adjusted per sport or that could be easily expanded if demand determines.

Binghamton for instance, they have a seating horseshoe of 4,600 seats, and then various opposite end arrangements of seating for basketball can stagger capacity up to 5,300 plus suites and standing room. Changes to the layout of seating within the building can increase capacity to over 9,000 for other events, when hosting concerts, graduations, and etc. They've lead the league in attendance year-in-year out since they outgrew their old facility; and when the students are on campus, regularly draw crowds in the 4,000-5,000 range.
 

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Just a note on capacity...capacity for basketball is always going to be larger than it is for hockey, just due to the size of the rink. So they really do need to consider hockey capacity first and foremost...and 6K is a pretty appropriate figure for hockey. Right now Gutterson is 4K, and that's a consistant sell-out, with a lengthy line for season tickets. Going to 6K seems like the logical next step. So, of course, for basketball you're going to get 6K, plus whatever extra floor space you're able to pick up. That's the way it is. Is 7500 bigger than what UVM basketball really needs? Yeah. But you can't go smaller and squeeze hockey, the primary ticket-selling tenant.
 

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Just a note on capacity...capacity for basketball is always going to be larger than it is for hockey, just due to the size of the rink. So they really do need to consider hockey capacity first and foremost...and 6K is a pretty appropriate figure for hockey. Right now Gutterson is 4K, and that's a consistant sell-out, with a lengthy line for season tickets. Going to 6K seems like the logical next step. So, of course, for basketball you're going to get 6K, plus whatever extra floor space you're able to pick up. That's the way it is. Is 7500 bigger than what UVM basketball really needs? Yeah. But you can't go smaller and squeeze hockey, the primary ticket-selling tenant.
Bingo! UVM hockey could easily get 6k. Also, as has been noted, a greater capacity takes into account attracting tourney stuff, for both sports.
 

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Don't get me wrong, it works in plenty of places - plenty of NHL, AHL, and NBA teams share buildings... plenty of schools do too... Boston's just feels out of place and I dunno if it was the blatent attempts to try and hide 3,000 empty seats on the ends or what, but it just felt like the game shouldn't be going on there... like we were sneaking in and playing a pick up game at the hockey rink or something. LOL

If Bing's team wasn't reduced with budget cuts from Varsity to Club in the 90's, the Event Center probably would have had ice too. Instead the BU Club team plays at the AHL arena in downtown. The Event Center could accomodate hockey... just more seating risers down the sides for a longer seating horsehoe and it wouldn't change the basketball layout a bit...
 

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Why have we not heard a response to the RFI from UVM yet? They said they were going to respond to all proposals by March of 2011 and here we are in Decmeber and nothing....Anybody have any news?
 

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Somewhat off topic, but the deadline for designs for UMaine's Memorial Gym is next Wednesday. A final design will come forward most likely in January.

If UVM wants a multipurpose facility that is sizable but intimate, look at Alfond. Because of the shape of the building, the building doesn't seem as big as it really is. Alfond works for both basketball and hockey and I bet UVM will get exactly want they want.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Anything on this? Anything....we were supposed to know something by March of 2011. It's January 24, 2012
 

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Anything on this? Anything....we were supposed to know something by March of 2011. It's January 24, 2012
I hope we'll know more about the direction of this project and next steps after we select a new President:

http://www.uvm.edu/trustees/presidentsearch/

It's a shame that when the new arena project finally started to get legs it was met with the worst recession in our lifetimes as well as a transition period in President's- and Fogel was a driving force for athletics as a President. Hopefully, the next President is as supportive of athletics and as focused on it as Fogel was.

I'm hoping the new arena project gets back in the forefront again- but even since as soon as 09-10, when Mens Hockey and Mens & Women's Basketball all made the NCAA Tournament, a lot has changed athletically since. The Hockey team has struggled mightily, Mens & Women's hoops both have new coaches, and we're searching for a new President.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Agree, hopefully the "new" President will be supportive of athletics and make this happen. We've needed a new facility for 20 years, it's time to make this happen. I'm sure they have the design picked out and it's just sitting on a desk somewhere.
 

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I'm sure they have the design picked out and it's just sitting on a desk somewhere.
Pretty certain that part has been decided, it's the financing & funding that needs to be put in place now.
 

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I wouldn't hold my breath for a new facility anytime soon. As much as I'd love to be watching the UVM team play in a state of the art facility the reality is UVM has lots of pressure to curtail it's spending and slow down the tution hikes. In addition, there has not been one sellout this season (it's half over) for basketball and because of the hockey struggles their attendance is down as well.

Looking back at the thread it appears that UVM will only build it if they can get a private donor to foot the bill (or at least a good portion of the bill). Unless a company like Dealer.com, Green Mountain Coffee or another successful Vermont company steps to the plate with tens of millions in financing I don't see it happening in the next decade.

The one bright spot is season tickets should stay reasonable. I can't imagine what they would charge if they build a $70 million dollar arena.
 
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