The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 7, 2014

MSU hopes arena upgrades will address 'needs'

(Continued)

Upgrades would include new men's and women's dressing rooms, coaches dressing rooms, video room, coaches and hockey operations offices, players lounge, recruiting area, athletic training room and equipment and laundry space. A new second-floor area would provide space for dining as well as conditioning and weight training.

Hastings said the idea is to have "an environment that addresses all aspects of development."

Hastings said he and women's coach Eric Means and other MSU officials are scheduled to meet with city officials to go over the plans on June 16. The construction timeline calls for that portion of the project to be completed in time for the 2015-16 season.

There remain questions to be answered about the project, Hastings said. In the end, however, he hopes that the Mavericks will have facilities similar to others in the state — “amenities that are competitive with the programs we're compared to,” he said.

Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State play in 4-year-old buildings, which were constructed chiefly with state funding. St. Cloud State's on-campus arena is in the midst of a $30 million upgrade and expansion, and a large portion of that project came from the state as well.

The facility arms race — a key component in recruiting, coaches say — has extended to Michigan Tech, which has undergone major improvements in recent years, including the addition of a video scoreboard last summer, and to Nebraska Omaha where an on-campus arena is currently under construction.

The hockey improvements are just a portion of Mankato's civic center project. It also includes the construction of a multi-use auditorium and the remodeling of the former US Bank building.

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