From a Burlington Free Press article on 1/5/09. It appears that the University of Vermont's arena is temporarily (if not permanently) on hold due to current economic times . . .
Nearly a year after a University of Vermont task force found athletic facilities inadequate and outlined preliminary plans for a new arena and other capital upgrades, not much has happened to expedite any of these improvements -- all of which remain years away, at best.
What has happened is a national economic downturn
that has forced UVM and everybody else to tighten belts and readjust goals. In the case of UVM, which has suspended borrowing for new capital projects in the face of a $28 million projected deficit for the next fiscal year, that means that any major new building plans -- at least in the foreseeable future -- will have to be underwritten almost entirely by private donations.
That applies not only to the six athletic and health facilities recommended by the Campus Life Task Force II at a total estimated cost of $188 million, but also to the overhaul of a former fraternity house
at 61 Summit St. as an alumni center, which by one rough reckoning could cost $10 million.
UVM fundraisers are still "searching the landscape" for donors to foot the bill for a multipurpose events center -- the most expensive project of the lot -- said Tom Gustafson, vice president for student and campus life, adding that there are some possibilities. Even if those possibilities come through, a new arena is still a long way off.
The first step will be to rank the six task force proposals among other capital priorities. Last year, the board of trustees approved a new system for assessing capital projects -- a ranking system based on a detailed assessment of how each project meets a range of needs. As of last month, No. 1 on the list was a renovation, with new construction, of facilities for the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. No. 2 was a renovation of McAuley Hall, which houses
part of the College of Education and Social Services.
When trustees meet next month, they will be presented with a new list of goals, including the six task force projects. As outlined to the board last month, they are:
• A multipurpose event center, or arena, that could accommodate athletic competitions, convocations and performances. $93.9 million.
• A recreation center/fieldhouse that would house club sports and other activities. $42.8 million.
• An athletic/shared use facility including a natatorium that would involve renovations to existing facilities. $29.4 million.
• A center for health and well-being, likely to be located off Main Street, behind the Gund Center. $13.8 million.
• Outdoor fields for track and softball. $5.2 million.
• Outdoor fields for soccer, lacrosse and student recreation. $2.7 million.