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UNO arena gets $87 million budget approval

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University of Nebraska at Omaha leaders have approved an $87.9 million budget for a new arena.

The design has been revised to a split-bowl seating plan, which will allow the top bowl to be closed off during smaller events. It will offer student, club and suite seating. The 7,500-seat arena’s price tag had previously been estimated at $76.3 million. The school plans to pay the $11.6 million in additional costs with $4 million more in bonds, $4 million more in private donations and $3.6 million in university funds.

In March, when the Board of Regents initially approved the project, Chancellor John Christensen said:

The arena is a game changer for UNO – enhancing not only Maverick Athletics and our move to Division I, but also recruitment, student life and as a home for university special events. As importantly, this facility will provide a wide range of opportunities for community use, as a similarly-sized replacement for the Civic Auditorium, in addition to serving as a wonderful complement to Aksarben Village and midtown redevelopment.

Construction of the University/Community arena is planned to start in late 2013 with an expected completion date of June 2015. Once built, the arena will be the home of UNO hockey; men’s and women’s basketball; and volleyball; as well as serving as additional space for academic activities and gatherings. The arena also will significantly enhance student life on the UNO campus and provide long-term stability for UNO Athletics.

In addition, the University/Community arena will provide the Omaha community enhanced entertainment venue opportunities, including graduation ceremonies and recreation, and provide a significant investment in a growing area of the city.

Trev Alberts, Director of UNO Athletics, said:

I’d like to thank the Board of Regents for its support of the arena project. Our goal is to deliver a vibrant, relevant athletic department that contributes to the overall advancement of the university in a fiscally responsible way. The positive impact this project will have on our student-athletes and coaches is hard to overstate.

One significant impact will be on the UNO hockey team, which currently plays at the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha, but regularly has to practice at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, which is scheduled to be demolished in 2014. Dean Blais, UNO head hockey coach, said:

To build a championship calibre programme, you need outstanding practice and game facilities. This arena will put Maverick hockey on par or ahead of its peers and allow us to recruit the kinds of student-athletes who will help us compete for championships each year.

University of Wyoming A-A ramps up refurb

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The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has authorised negotiation of a contract with Haselden Construction of Casper to serve as construction manager for the $12 million renovation of the University of Wyoming Arena-Auditorium (A-A). The firm was chosen from a list of four finalists, all Wyoming companies.

The first phase of the A-A project will involve expansion and replacement of the basketball court floor to provide two practice courts and reorientation of the competition court; reconfiguration and replacement of the seating in the lower bowl to include up to 500 club seats, as well as dedicated media, band and student sections; renovation of most of the current locker room level; installation of upgraded lights and new video boards, LED ribbon boards and sound system; and life-safety and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements.

The project will be funded by $7 million in private donations and $5 million in state matching funds. Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2014, and be completed in time for the start of the basketball season in October 2014.

The second phase of improvements to the A-A, which opened in 1982, will include building additions and renovations at the concourse level. The estimated cost for that phase is $18 million. No construction timeline has been established.

Opened in 1982, the UW Arena-Auditorium will be renovated following the 2013-2014 basketball season.

Opened in 1982, the UW Arena-Auditorium will be renovated following the 2013-2014 basketball season.


Worcester Arena ready for netball grand final

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The grand final of netball’s Superleague is due to be hosted at the University of Worcester Arena on 25 May following the successful completion of construction work. The University of Worcester is the home of the Worcester Wolves Basketball Club. It was one of only six national projects to receive funding from Sport England’s Iconic Facilities Olympic legacy fund, with a grant of £1.5m.


Worcester Arena

Worcester Arena

The arena will become a national centre of excellence for disability sport, designed to be fully inclusive and building on the work of the University across a host of disability sports, including wheelchair basketball and blind football.

The 5,300m2 Arena, which is built on the site of the former fruit and vegetable market in Hylton Road, Worcester, is capable of hosting major indoor sports events, with retractable seating provided for 2,000 people and excellent television infrastructure.

Mick Donovan, Head of the University’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, said:

Many people have worked really hard to help to make this happen and we are thrilled with the outcome and are genuinely excited about the sporting opportunities we will be creating for so many sporting generations in the future. The Arena will really help to put Worcester on the map as a sporting city and attract some great events to the region.