Arena in the works

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Whether fidgeting in the seats in Patrick Gymnasium trying to watch some basketball, or constantly trying to readjust on the seats in Gutterson cheering on the hockey teams, Catamount fans have found the current indoor sports facilities to lack in both their size and quality.

However, the recent talk of a $500 million renovation for Patrick Gymnasium and Gutterson Field House has left many excited.

“While Patrick Gymnasium and Gutterson Field House have a certain ‘charm,’ they do not present much in the way of comfort for spectators,” said athletic director Bob Corran.

“A new facility, which would address these deficiencies, would also bring significant value to the entire student body and campus community,” Corran said.

At the time the facilities were built, when the school’s enrollment was less than 5,000 students, they were able to fit every student in a seat. However, the Catamount population has grown significantly over the years, and with that increase certain space concerns have arisen.

The athletic department is aware of these increases, and also how these problems affect competition between UVM facilities and those of other schools.

The renovations would have a “tremendous impact on the recruitment of future student-athletes” across UVM’s 18 varsity sports teams, Corran said.

While there is no talk about adding any new varsity sports to the program at this time, the department plans to stay focused by simply improving the overall quality of the current varsity teams. 

 Not only would UVM’s varsity sports feel the repercussions of a renovation plan, but so would recreational, intramural and club sports teams.

     Due to current overcrowding and overbooking, all of the sports team levels are scrambling for gym or rink time for practices and games. With the addition of a new facility, the current facilities would be available for recreational, intramural and club teams. 

These teams would also have access to the new facilities at times when they aren’t being used by their varsity counterparts. The plan for improvement would make time management much simpler and would also help prevent some late night practices.

The athletic department isn’t worried about renovations hindering fan turnout; rather, they’re confident that it will improve as the facilities do.

“We anticipate a greater number of students, alumni and community members attending games in the new facility,” Corran said.

If and when the project will be completed is still up in the air. However, the plan for the new complex is now on the University’s capital project list. No action will be taken before there are enough funds raised to complete the project.