Ohio University officials are expressing a desire to replace Bird Arena, but the cost and timing of the project remain unknown.
In March, the university’s board of regents signed off on a master plan for the campus that called for the replacement of both Bird Arena and the college’s aquatics center. According to that plan, Bird Arena–which opened in 1957 and primarily serves the Ohio University’s hockey program–will present significant maintenance challenges over the long run, making an investment in a new venue more financially viable.
The master plan called for the new venue to be built near an existing recreation center, allowing the site of Bird Arena to be used for other purposes. University officials intend to move forward with a new arena; however, both the timing and the price of the arena need to be considered before the project is finalized. More from The Post:
[Vice president for student affairs Jason] Pina said according to studies done so far to determine the cost of fully renovating the current Bird Arena/Aquatic Center, the estimation is “between 24 and 30-something million dollars.”
The study of the future of Bird Arena/Aquatic Center will provide a better understanding of the comparison between the cost of building new facilities versus renovating the current facilities.
Mark Ferguson, the executive director of Campus Recreation, said funding streams have not been identified for potentially funding the new facilities. There is no rigid plan to build the new arena because the Division of Student Affairs doesn’t have the money yet, Pina said.
“My hope is that in the next few years we’ll be able to do a study and get down to brass tax to really know what we’re in for and what it’s costing us to keep running,” Pina said.
The aforementioned master plan covered fiscal years 2017-2022, and Ohio University says it would like to replace Bird Arena within the next 10 years.