New ice rink a possibility

The UVM Athletic Department is currently discussing plans for a new facility that would replace the Patrick Gym and the Gutterson Fieldhouse and ice rink.

“It’s a glorified high school gymnasium,” Schulman said. “It just doesn’t meet the needs of a competitive NCAA Division I school.”

The facility would hold more people and be up to date with NCAA standards, said Jeff Schulman, senior associate director of the Athletic Department.

The biggest issue driving the discussion is capacity, he said.

“The current ice rink can hold up to 4,000 fans,” Schulman said. “We want the new facility to hold up to six or seven thousand.”

Fans now have to get on a waitlist if they want season tickets, he said.

Though the additional space for fans is a huge benefit, Schulman said that the new facility wouldn’t just be for athletics.

“It’s really multipurpose athletics center that will be used for hockey, basketball, concert, large lectures, conferences, conventions, commencement and convocation,” he said. “It’s going to be a campus resource that is going to benefit far more than just athletes.”

The workout gym would remain intact, Schulman said, but there would be a new track, ice rink, basketball courts and other practice fields.

Despite the possibility for an enhanced athletics facility, some students said they don’t like the idea.

“I like the feel of Gutterson because it’s small and it just feels like there’s a lot of history there,” sophomore Nico Alonso-Harper said. “It wouldn’t be the same if they moved to a newer facility.”

Sophomore and varsity hockey player Tobias Nilsson-Roos said he has a different opinion.

“I understand that there are a lot of memories there and it carries a lot of tradition for some, but a new gym would be a place to create new memories and it would be great for everyone on campus, not just varsity athletes,” Nilsson-Roos said.

Schulman said that Gutterson is not built for any more expansion.

It was already expanded once from 3,000 to 4,000 and it’s just simply time for a new, up-to-date athletic facility, he said.

The Gutterson and Patrick Gym facilities will not be torn down, Schulman said.

“We will continue to use the Patrick and Gutterson for club and intramural sports and practice space for varsity sports, and maybe women’s hockey games,” he said.

The construction of a new athletic facility is a part of a bigger plan for the Athletic Department, Schulman said.

“This is part of an larger plan to renovate our athletic facilities including all of our outdoor facilities,” he said.

Some students have said that the cost of such renovation could be concerning because of the potential record increase in tuition for the upcoming semester.

“I don’t want them to build a facility with tuition dollars if it’s only going to benefit varsity athletes,” Alonso-Harper said.

Fortunately, the Athletic Department is looking to private funding from independent investors to finance the project, Schulman said.

“The goal is to not have an impact on tuition dollars,” he said.

The complete renovation of UVM’s athletic facilities is a project that could take up to 10 years, Schulman said.