According to the Sports Business Journal, there are more that than $1.3 billion currently being expended on major college arena construction projects to debut between the start of the 2015 basketball season through 2018.
Many of the major projects are not for the arenas themselves, but for practice facilities for basketball teams and other sports. Many are either funded through private donations or athletic funds, but it was interesting to see that University of Illinois students voted to charge themselves $25 a semester to help fund a new sports arena on campus in Champaign-Urbana.
Below is a sampling of some of the major projects:
To Be Completed in 2015
Baxter Arena, University of Nebraska-Omaha
Cost: $87.9 million
Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX
Cost: $72 million
Basketball Training Facility, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Cost: $32 million
Basketball Performance Center, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Cost: $25 million
Arena-Auditorium, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
Cost: $30 million ($13 million Phase I completed for 2014-15 season; $17 million Phase II begins at the completion of this season)
Funding Sources: Evenly split between private donations and a matching gift program by the state of Wyoming
Raymond J. Bourque Arena, Endicott College, Beverly MA
Cost: $10 million
Notes: Named after former Boston Bruin hockey great, Ray Bourque, to support the launch of NCAA Division III men’s and women’s hockey programs.
Haas Pavilion improvements, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Cost: $10 million
Notes: Funded through a gift from the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Improvements include a new center-hung scoreboard, upgraded sound and lighting systems, and modernized video production facilities
To Be Completed in 2016
State Farm Center, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL
Cost: $169.5 million
Notes: Naming rights to the arena sold to State Farm Insurance for $60 million over 30 years; additional funding will come via the sale of naming rights for other areas on the site, premium seating fees, and a $25 per semester fee, which Illinois students self-imposed in a 2014 referendum.
The Pavilion at Ole Miss, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS
Cost: $95 million
Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Cost: $62.5 million
Sports Performance Enhancement Arena,
University of South Dakota, Vermillon, SD
Cost: $66 million
Notes: The new complex will contain the new arena, two practice courts, a 7,500-square-foot weight room, a sports medicine and athletic training area, and academic space for physical and occupational therapy, kinesiology and sports science programs.
O’Connell Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Cost: $64.5 million
John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Cost: $61 million
Notes: The Thompson Center will be built adjacent to the existingMcDonough Gymnasium and, with roughly 144,000 square feet of newly constructed space, to include: New practice courts, locker rooms, team meeting rooms, lounge areas and coaches' offices for men's and women's basketball; Weight training facility and sports medicine/training room areas for all varsity student-athletes; Student-athlete academic center, auditorium and team meeting facilities for all varsity sports programs; the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame and additional reception space
Reynolds Coliseum, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Cost: $35 million
Notes: Rennovation of the facility originally opened in 1949.
Suncoast Credit Union Arena, Florida SouthWestern State College, Fort Myers, FL
Cost: $25 million
Notes: Florida SouthWestern just recently converted from a 2-year community college to offer 4-year degrees. It is hoping to replicate the success of its neighbor Florida Gulf Coast University which saw itself emerge on the national scene with an unlikely Cinderella run in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2014.
Basketball Training Facility Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Cost: $25 million
Notes: VCU basketball has emerged in recent years under the direction of coach Shaka Smart, who the school has been able to retain despite constant overtures from larger schools. The facility will include Men's and women's practice courts with viewing decks, Strength and conditioning room, Training rooms, Hydrotherapy room, men's and women's locker rooms, players' lounges and academic study areas, player dining area with prep kitchen, video viewing and editing rooms, conference rooms, coach, trainer, and support staff offices, Hall of Fame lobby
Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Cost: $40 million
Notes: Renovations to improve every restroom and adding new ones, improve the concession stands, refurbish all non-bleacher seats, install a new large video board with improved visibility in the balconies and throughout the seating bowl, replace metal railings with acrylic panels to improve safety and sightlines, and add premium seating and hospitality to generate revenues to reinvest in the building’s maintenance; improve fan accessibility through new escalators in the north and south lobbies and improved access for people with disabilities; enhance the look through a dramatic new “front door” and entry plaza and new branding and flooring throughout the building; and rebuild the infrastructure of the building through improvements to its emergency alarms, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems.
Rupp Arena improvements, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Cost: $15 million
Notes: Technology overhaul that includes a new center-hung scoreboard, wireless Internet for fans, and changes to the roof infrastructure so the arena can attract more concerts and major events.
The Sports Center, California State University San Marcos, San Marcos, CA
Cost: $11.4 million
Notes: The current home of the Cougars, The M. Gordon Clarke Field House, features only a half-basketball court gymnasium. Currently, men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball are practicing and playing off campus at a local high school and community college. Current CSUSM facilities do not meet NCAA Division II minimum standards.
Funding: Entirely from a $25 per student, per semester athletic fee
To Be Completed in 2017
McCormick Place Event Center, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Cost: $164 million
Notes: Arena is part of a larger scale economic development project including a hotel, exposition space, and the arena.
Funding: Public/private partnership between Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and DePaul University
NJIT Wellness and Events Center, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ
Cost: $102 million
Notes: With NJIT’s jump to NCAA Division 1, this project seeks to add legitimacy to the schools move to higher level competition. Current facilities are measurably substandard by Division 1 standards and NJIT’s flagship basketball program typically draws less than 500 fans a game, despite previously playing in the 18,000 seat Prudential Center several blocks away.