As a D1 school, UVM needs new facilities

The plan for a new arena is still in its infancy and it is likely that no one reading this column will get to enjoy it as an undergraduate. However, the plans exist and a brand-new, shiny sports complex will one day reside on Athletic Campus.

For a school with a once elite hockey team hoping to regain that status and a basketball team that has made shining its dancing shoes for the March Madness tournament a yearly occurrence, a new stadium is long overdue.

Most Division I schools milk their athletic programs for big-money donations to the school and utilize the national media spotlight to brand an image.

Part and parcel with this effort is having an infrastructure in place that helps recruit talented student athletes, draws fans and looks good on television. In other words, you need an awesome new stadium.

But aside from raising the Universitys athletic profile, the new arena would benefit campus life as whole.

Instead of packing the fourth floor of the Davis Center to enjoyFallFest, students could enjoy a big-name act as well as some elbowroom in a venue legitimate enough to draw that act.

While we did stuff President Obama intoGuttersonField House sorry about that, Mr. President it would be great to entice guest speakers of high stature and then greet them with a complex worthy of their prestige.

The University would even be able to draw revenue by renting the space to other organizations.

Some will make the argument that other projects should take priority. That a new arena is not worth the time and effort when there are many necessary projects left undone as a legacy of the deferred maintenance program.

Well, those critics should rest easy. The new arena is not being rushed. It has been an ongoing proposition since 2008, with a task force assigned to study the idea completing a report in 2009. Finally, in 2012, the administration has arrived at a tentative yes. And the formation of an actual budget, let alone any real construction, could take longer still.

In fact, on the master plan of campus building projects being submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval in the coming months, the new arena falls far from the top in priority.

But it is on the list and it deserves to be on the list. After more pressing concerns are addressed, a new stadium will be built and I will return toUVMand watch the Cats beat down UNH in grand style.