Nebraska Regents Approves Plan for new UNO Arena
CHN Staff Report
OMAHA, Neb. The University of Nebraska Board of Regents today unanimously approved plans for a new arena at the Nebraska-Omaha campus.
The plan calls for a $75 million arena and facility, that will paid for with fundraising and bonds, and is a joint effort of the University and the city of Omaha. The approval means those plans can proceed, along with finalizing a design.
“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,” said school Chancellor John Christensen. “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 arena is planned to start in late 2013 with an expected completion date of June 2015. Once built, it 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.
“I'd like to thank the Board of Regents for its support of the arena project,” said Trev Alberts, Director of UNO Athletics. “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 board's decision today ensures the long-term viability of our department. 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. The CenturyLink Center is older, and seats over 14,000, which is considered unnecessarily large for the UNO hockey program.
“To build a championship caliber program, you need outstanding practice and game facilities,” Mavericks coach Dean Blais said. “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.”