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Construction of PSU Ice Arena underway

Facility designed to be sports and education arena, welcome center and economic driver

The Plymouth State University Ice Arena , currently under construction of Route 175-A in Holderness, is slated for completion in summer 2010. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
May 01, 2009
PLYMOUTH — Construction began this week on a new ice arena, Plymouth State University officials announced today. The Ice Arena will cost about $16.4 million to build and is scheduled to be completed by late summer 2010.

The Ice Arena will seat 850 spectators and serve as a teaching facility for instruction and research in ice activities, a home for Panther varsity men's and women's ice hockey teams, and a site for student recreation. The Ice Arena will also be a venue for community skating including high school athletics, adult and youth hockey leagues, figure skating, and recreational skating.

The Ice Arena will feature a Welcome Center lobby and facilities that will provide an attractive meeting place for prospective students, parents, and visitors to the campus as well as the towns of Plymouth and Holderness and the wider region.

"The Ice Arena will be more than just an athletic facility on our campus," said PSU President Sara Jayne Steen. "It will allow the University to broaden its physical resources to improve our student experience, provide a competitive advantage for student recruitment, allow more community access to our facilities, and enhance the quality of life in the region."

What does this mean for PSU?
The Ice Arena is the first of a five-phase plan to construct PSU's new ALLWell Center complex (Active Living, Learning, and Wellness).

Future phases of the ALLWell Center will house classrooms, research laboratories, lecture halls, offices, multipurpose activity laboratories, conference rooms, and general support areas for academic and athletic programs. A new field house will provide additional instructional space. An aquatic center will enhance capacity for instruction, community programming, and serve as a qualified competition venue. The Foley Gymnasium will be relocated to a new building that will house instructional and laboratory facilities, an athletic training suite, and strength and conditioning centers for students and the community.

The entire project is designed so that on-going activities are not interrupted as new facilities come on line and old facilities are removed.

"The Health and Human Performance department is the University's third largest program," said Provost Julie Bernier. "The ALLWell Center will provide a state-of-the-art academic facility for our students allowing them to learn and excel beyond what is currently possible."

The Health and Human Performance department also has established recently a Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities, an institute for research and outreach on health and wellness in rural areas that will eventually be housed in the ALLWell Center.

The Ice Arena serves as a community facility
The Ice Arena will serve as a "welcome center" for the Lake Region and North Country and a key distribution point for material and information about local communities and the region.

The Ice Arena responds to the market demand for increasing numbers of adult and youth hockey activities in the Northeast; hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in New England.

"Community support is vital to its success, in terms of public access, support of the arena, and partnerships with local groups," said PSU Executive Director of University Relations Steve Barba.

Why is PSU moving forward with building the Ice Arena given the current economic climate?
The Ice Arena is the first in a five-phase project. Preparation for the construction of the Ice Arena included an independent feasibility study completed in 2007 that indicated a strong business case for the reconstruction of the current Physical Education Center into a state-of-the-art complex that will eventually integrate the department of Health and Human Performance (HHP) with athletics, recreation, and community programs.

Funds to underwrite the construction of the Ice Arena have been generated by New Hampshire Health and Education Facilities Authority (HEFA) bonds. The Ice Arena operating costs will be supported by funds generated through private donations, corporate sponsorships, operations of the rink, and student fees. The State of New Hampshire is providing support through a Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) grant. The PSU Student Senate demonstrated its support for the new Ice Arena by unanimously approving an annual student fee to begin in 2010.

"This is an excellent addition to the campus," said PSU Vice President for Finance and Administration Steve Taksar. "It will be managed as an auxiliary operation, which means it must be self-sustaining."

Economic impact of the Ice Arena
According to an independent economic impact study, it is estimated that the Ice Arena construction project will create 25.8 additional employment positions earning $1,031,000. Construction is scheduled to take 15 months and during that time, there will be $2,245,000 in additional business sales in the region.

Wright-Ryan Construction, Inc. from Portland, ME is the primary contractor for the Ice Arena project. Approximately 60 percent of the construction contractors are New Hampshire-based companies.

It is estimated that once open, the Ice Arena will create 17.3 new jobs in the region with $508,000 in new salaries. Operations of the Ice Arena will also generate $2,333,000 annually. Significant increases in day and overnight visitor traffic are anticipated.

PSU's commitment to sustainability
The Ice Arena will be built to meet LEED Silver standards by installing sophisticated geothermal heating/cooling design to maximize energy conservation opportunities.

"In order to maximize the sustainability of this facility PSU is installing the large geothermal field and using other energy-saving devices that will reduce energy consumption by at least 28 percent over a traditional arena," said PSU's Director of Environmental Sustainability Bill Crangle.

The combination of geothermal and the capture of waste heat generated by ice making equipment will provide the heat for the facility thereby removing reliance on a traditional fuel-based heating system.

Because of the energy-efficient design, this facility will require less energy consumption than PSU's traditional academic and residential buildings of the same size.

The University is also developing plans to make available to area science classes the opportunity to learn first-hand about the various "green" technologies being implemented in the Ice Arena.

For more information contact PSU Director of Public Relations at: cwilliams@plymouth.edu or (603) 535-2476.

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