Plans for new event center completed

Plans+for+new+event+center+completed

Members of the UVM community have collaborated on a game plan to construct a new event center.

A construction and renovation proposal has been in debate since 2004.

The board of trustees proposed the creation of a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose event center along with renovations to campus recreation facilities.

The wait is over, plans have been finalized and the process is underway.

“The plans for this new facility are exciting,” sophomore Jennifer Michael said. “I’m just sad that I won’t be here when it’s done. I hope that in the future it can attract some big name people.”

The board passed a resolution endorsing the project and asked the administration to move forward with efforts to raise funds and design the facility.

The center will not only be home to Catamount hockey and basketball, but also a venue for ceremonies, speakers, concerts, entertainment and other large gatherings.

The goal is to bring together fellow Cats, the city of Burlington and the state of Vermont.

The major obstacle that has stood in the way of UVM is its insufficient financial contributions from local donors and alumni, Athletic Director Robert Corran said.

Ninety-nine percent of the challenges on campus are financial, Corran said.

In 2008, when the economy declined, the University looked at how it might be able to partner with private developers to build an arena, he said.

UVM has worked with an architectural firm in Toronto, Canada — BB&B Architects —that specializes in large arenas, Corran said.

The University is interested in an arena of 6,000 to 8,000 seats, he said

The concept, the size of the facility, preferred location and the goal to develop a recreation center have all been decided, Corran said.

The current facility is not large enough to fit the student body alone, not to mention faculty, staff and community members, he said.

The majority of facilities on campus were built in the early 1960s, at that time campus enrollment was less than 3,000, Corran said.

Since then, campus has become more integrated and has doubled in enrollment, he said.

“From a recreational user perspective, we’re terribly undersized in terms of the physical space we have,” Corran said.

The outdated facilities are not up to code compared to other state universities across the country, he said.

“We have among the smallest and oldest facility in our conference. It really is a deterrent in recruiting for us and we simply don’t have the amenities or equipment to develop our student athletes,” Corran said.

On a larger scale, in the past UVM has had world leaders visit campus and was unable to effectively host them due to the accommodations, he said.

Corran said he believes the renovation will enable UVM to host more than just sporting events.

“We have the opportunity to attract different kinds of family entertainment acts, major speakers, political rallies and any number of things that we are simply not able to host at this point,” Corran said.

The plan has a variety of  additional steps to take on the technical side like design work and permitting, Corran said.

“On the financial side, the function of meeting with respective donors and telling our story to them and securing the gifts,” he said.

“Given how intercollegiate athletics and sports generally interface with the community, in so many ways we are the front porch of the University,” Corran said. “This new facility will have a transformational impact, in that it will provide so much to the city, state and on campus.”

The mission of University officials is to do everything in their power to ensure that students have access to resources like athletic or recreational facilities, he said.

“We have one of the most active student bodies in the entire country and we have a large number of students who are members of private clubs and that just doesn’t seem right,” Corran said.

Although there is no official calendar date or time set for the launch of the renovation, higher-ups in the athletic department say there is a light at the end of the tunnel.