UVM, S. Burlington to consider new arena

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UVM, S. Burlington to consider new arena

Photo courtesy of City of South Burlington

Photo courtesy of City of South Burlington

Photo courtesy of City of South Burlington

Photo courtesy of City of South Burlington


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UVM and the city of South Burlington are looking into the possibility of making a multi-purpose recreational facility.

South Burlington City Manager Kevin Dorn said no decision has been made to build the center and the city is only looking into the possibility of building it.

“[UVM and South Burlington] will be looking at the feasibility together,” Dorn said.

He started looking at the possibility of building a recreational center for the public in September, he said.

“This really is just a feasibility study,” Dorn said. “A lot of the programming studies have been done.”

The arena would address the needs of student-athletes and seat around 5,000 people, he said.

Dorn brought the idea to UVM’s attention in late fall 2015, said Thomas Gustafson, vice president of University relations and administration.

“The idea that South Burlington approached us with was ‘Would you be interested in exploring having your intercollegiate athletic program… play in an arena in our new downtown that hasn’t been built yet’,” Gustafson said.

UVM is willing to explore the idea, he said.

“They don’t even own the site that they are proposing to put it on,” Gustafson said. “So it’s got a lot of moving parts that we’re barely scratching the surface on.”

UVM would not own any part of the arena and would be a tenant, he said.

The city would pay for most of the project and the rest may come from donors, Gustafson said.

“If it was named the Catamount Center it would mean we failed getting a corporate sponsor,” he said.

Gustafson and other UVM officials will be looking into the probability of the arena with the city, he said.

“I really don’t know where this is going at this point,” he said. “Let’s just say we’re cautiously optimistic something will happen but nothing might happen.”

South Burlington has been trying to gather support for the idea, Gustafson said.

“They’re making it sound pretty real and it’s not real,” he said. “It’s just an idea.”

One way in which the arena will benefit students, if built, will be its proximity to campus, Robert Corran, director of UVM athletics said.

“It gives us a new competition site for men’s and women’s hockey and men’s and women’s basketball,” Corran said.

The athletic department will have more space for campus recreation if hockey and basketball have their competition site at the arena, he said.

“It doesn’t give us new facilities but it gives us space to develop facilities,” Corran said.

Existing facilities would be renovated for campus recreation, he said.

 

“It does have that sort of domino effect by taking some of the pressures off of existing facilities with competition,” Corran said.

This plan would be an alternative option to the campus recreation center, he said.

The campus recreation center project is still in its funding stages, Gustafson said.