New event center will be named after major donors


Photo source: UVM

The Tarrant Event Center, named after the project’s leading donors, is set to begin construction in early 2019. Richard and Deb Tarrant donated $15 million to the new multipurpose facility.

Sophia Venturo, Staff Writer

UVM’s new $95 million event center will be named after the project’s leading donors.

The University announced that Richard and Deb Tarrant donated $15 million to a new multipurpose facility, according to a Dec. 18 press release.

The Tarrants’ gift is the largest capital gift in UVM’s history and makes them its second largest donors ever, according to the press release.

The facility, named the Tarrant Event Center, is set to begin construction in early 2019.

The space is intended to serve as a hub for athletic and social engagement as well as a recruitment tool for prospective student athletes, UVM Foundation CEO Shane Jacobson said.

Plans for the project include a restoration of Gutterson Fieldhouse, development of arenas for basketball teams and the remodelling of Patrick Gym as a fitness center for all students.

The Tarrants made the lead donation after the UVM Foundation identified a $15 million expense needed to bankroll the project and tied it to an opportunity to name the facility, Jacobson said.

The project is expected to cost $95 million in total. Thirty million dollars will come from donations and $5 million will be deferred maintenance, Jacobson said.

The remaining $60 million will be long term debt that the University will pay off over a 35-year period, Jacobson said.

The University will also consult with SGA to establish a student fee for the facility, UVM Communications Director Enrique Corredera stated in a Jan. 11 email to the Cynic.

Some students feel uneasy about the cost of attracting new students.

“I feel that the University is just attempting to recruit new student athletes,” first-year Lily Gold said. “It makes me worry about what the long term costs for everyone else will be.”

Sophomore Megan Richardson said she thinks such a big budget could be put to other uses.

“I feel like $95 million is a ton of money that could be used for other things like increasing diversity and fixing up the humanities buildings,” she said.

Other students feel as though the current athletic center is due for an upgrade.

“Certain parts of the facility area are a little small,” senior Michael Greenberg said. “It’s tough getting a a workout in when it’s crowded.”

The Tarrants have made several donations to UVM in the past, including to the UVM Cancer Center and the College of Education and Social Sciences.

Robert and Helen Larner remain UVM’s biggest donors, having given the University over $100 million in their lifetimes, according to a September 2016 Burlington Free Press article.

The Tarrants have a strong connection to the University and their most recent gift is a way to give back, Jacobson said.

Richard Tarrant is an alumnus of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, where he played basketball before founding the health care technology company IDX Systems Corp.

Tarrant is also a former member of the UVM board of trustees and all three of his sons were varsity athletes at UVM.

Deb Tarrant is a retired financial manager.