Patrick and Gutterson to see renovation


Over the past 50 years, audiences at Patrick Gym and Gutterson Fieldhouse have seen some of the brightest student athletes compete before them– many of which have gone on to have successful professional careers.

A recent proposal by the University that calls for a new multi-purpose event center and renovations to the campus recreation facility is in the process of being finalized.

In 1963, the Gutterson Fieldhouse was built to hold 3,557 fans, but after the refurbishing in 1991, the building was increased to its current capacity of 4,007 seats.

The basketball and hockey game tickets are frequently sold out, so in the past year the University has developed a task force which has proposed a plan to possibly build a new arena that will have an interchangeable hardwood and ice surface, according to UVM Athletic Director Robert Corran.

Although the building would not be completed for many years, the estimated cost is $60 million.

The task force’s plan is that the new event center will not only benefit UVM, but also the Vermont community.

The new facility will be a place for concerts, ice capades, shows such as the Harlem Globetrotters, he said.

The first proposal for renovations was from a group of architects who evaluated Gutterson Fieldhouse and Patrick Gym and created an extensive list of renovations. This was never pursued because it exceeded the University’s budget, Corran said.

The second option was a joint initiative between the University and the state of Vermont called the Governors Task Force.

This included renovations to campus recreation, and also created ideas about how building a new event center would benefit the entire state.

Due to a lack of support from the city and state, the plan was never followed through.

UVM stayed persistent and continued to pursue the renovations.

Three years ago, the athletic department reached out to private sector developers for their input on how to begin the renovation process.

While the Task Force is currently in the process of finalizing a plan for the renovations to campus recreation, the potential location is still unknown.

In addition to the event center, the proposal includes renovations to recreational facilities. In 2009, the Campus Life Task Force 2 conducted a study using student input, which helped address the explicit physical needs of the UVM students.

Although the initial proposal was in the price range of $60 million, the most recent plan is estimated at $15 million.

“This is a significant need for us, we are seriously undersized for this campus population,” Corran said.

Gregg Bates, director of campus recreation, said he is excited about the expansions to the locker rooms, tennis courts, squash and ratchet courts and multi-activity courts.

Indoor soccer, inline hockey, and other intramural and club sports will be able use the multi-activity courts and new basketball courts.

The renovations will give the University more area for students to simply play a pick-up game or just shoot hoops.

Currently, Gutterson Fieldhouse is the largest indoor facility in the entire state, Bates said. A new building has great appeal for the University, and also for events such as the high school ice hockey championships that are hosted at the facility.

“The multi-purpose event center has a broader appeal,” Corran said. “It extends beyond recreation, athletics, to the entire campus, and to the community including the entire state. It is going to be a venue where the campus can come together.”

Bates explained that the location that is getting the most attention right now is an expansion of the existing fitness center to the west side, and behind the indoor track.

It is the most convenient area for the renovations because the students will have access to the entire campus recreational facility in one location, Bates said.

There is no definite time frame yet, but he hopes that within this academic year that the task force will have narrowed down the scope on what we want to do and start getting students involved in the process.