A $28 million renovation of the National Hockey Center is under review, as St. Cloud State University finds it needs to improve its facilities to stay current in the college-hockey arms race.
When it opened, the National Hockey Center was quite the accomplishment for SCSU and a key to that program raising to Division I status. Today, it’s pretty much a basic facility — a place where metal bleachers rule and amenities are few. It’s probably the most basic facility in the WCHA now that Bemidji State and Minnesota-Duluth play in new arenas.
The plan is for SCSU to attack a renovation in two stages. There’s already enough money — some $14 million — in school coffers for the first stage, a renovation of the arena exterior. The second stage, which covers interior changes like seat upgrades, installation of 20-30 suites, and more, will require fundraising in the greater community, and perhaps a sale of naming rights. In addition, the facility would be upgraded to host concerts and other events. The second stage of renovations is estimated right now at $14.5 milion.
Hockey is important to SCSU and St. Cloud: Hockey is the only athletic program at the university turning a profit (the school even looked at dropping football because it’s a money pit), and it’s probably the most popular activity in St. Cloud during hockey season.
The renovation work is being overseen by JLG Architects.
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