Last week, the Athletics Department announced that Achilles Center and Messa Rink will be undergoing a $10 million dollar renovation.
Athletic Director Jim McLaughlin told the Daily Gazette that the $10 million will all be fundraised “just like the majority of our capital improvements on campus.”
While the renovation to the 41-year-old hockey rink has been approved, there is no expected start state date for the project, as the money will come strictly from fundraising.
The renovations will include new seating on the lower level next to the ice with back support, a new concession area, new bathrooms, new flooring underneath the ice, new coaches’ offices, a new video scoreboard, a new entrance across from Bailey Field and new boards and glass.
The rink was constructed in 1974 and 1975, when Union’s hockey team still competed at the Division III level. In 1992, men’s hockey moved up to Division I, followed by women’s hockey in 2003.
McLaughlin said that because the arena now houses two Division I teams, “It’s just time to take a look at upgrades to the rink. We want this done as quickly as possible. We want to make sure that we do it in a fiscally responsible way. That’s how we’ve always done things on this campus, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Clough, Harbor and Associates are contracted for the project and have been working with Union over the past couple years to come up with potential renovations for Achilles Center and Messa Rink.
McLaughlin said that the main motivation for the project was to provide fans with better amenities in order to ensure they have a better experience at the games. “We have a terrific product on the ice, but we need to make sure that we service our fans and alumni well,” McLaughlin continued.
People have also commented that the upgrades might help Union’s team be more competitive in recruiting.
Men’s ice hockey head coach Rick Bennett is also excited about the renovations. “It’s a feel-good thing,” Bennett said. “Hopefully, it’s going to happen here soon. For all the alums and the players, the buzz around campus is going to be an exciting time.”