U considers $8 million renovation plan for Mariucci Arena

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The University of Minnesota is considering an $8 million renovation to Mariucci Arena.

Those changes would include making the ice surface smaller. The Gophers are one of the few college hockey teams that still play on an Olympic-sized ice surface, 200 by 100 feet.

According to the College Hockey News, most arenas built since the mid-1990s have been NHL sized – 200 by 85, or a hybrid. The plans under consideration from the university call for an ice sheet of 200 by 92 1/2 feet.

Finance and Commerce reports the university is hoping to award a contract for predesign services for rink renovations in May.

The plans would create better sight lines and would create room from about 200 additional seats. That could generate more revenue, according to the College Hockey News report.

The Mariucci project is separate from the $190 million master facilities plan the athletic department announced last summer. The plan would also include expanding the weight room, renovations to both locker rooms and additional athletic training facilities.

Mariucci Arena is one of the older facilities on campus, according to the Minnesota Daily. It opened in 1993 and is much younger than Williams Arena, but when compared to the other facilities including TCF Bank Stadium, Ridder Arena and Siebert Field, it is relatively old.

The Star Tribune reports U of M Athletic Director Norwood Teague said the renovations would be privately funded.

"We're excited about some of the things we can do with Mariucci, and it will be a great shot in the arm for our hockey program, Teague told the Star Tribune. "We have a couple of a la carte projects such as this that we've been planning on funding for awhile."

The university's other projects remain in the fundraising phase. Teague has indicated those fundraising efforts are going very well.

The Star Tribune reports that Teague said the first project to gain enough funding will be the first advance into the construction phase.

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