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Mariucci Arena renovation to begin this spring

The University of Minnesota Athletics Department intends to start work this spring on the first part of a four-phase, $16.25 million renovation of Mariucci Arena, the 22-year-old home of Gopher men’s hockey.

The U of M is seeking design-build services for the initial phase of work, which includes an athlete lounge, film room and sports medicine facilities in the Gopher locker area, and renovations of the existing home and visitor locker rooms.

Future phases touch on everything from the ice sheet and refrigeration system to administrative offices. One of the project’s goals is to make the arena more flexible for a variety of uses.

“In general, they are looking at Mariucci as being more than strictly men’s hockey, and trying to bring it more up to code,” said U of M project manager Trevor Dickie.

The $4.382 million first phase, funded through the Athletics Department, is scheduled to start in April after the upcoming college hockey season, Dickie said. The work is slated for completion before the 2016-17 hockey season begins in September, he said.

Mariucci was a “premier collegiate hockey facility” when it opened in 1993, according to a predesign report, but has since been fallen behind other Big Ten arenas. Support areas are outdated, the report stated.

Fundraising for Mariucci is separate from the $166 million, 322,000-square-foot Athletes Village project, which recently broke ground on a site surrounded by Fifth Street, Eighth Street Southeast, 15th Avenue Southeast and the U of M’s baseball and softball fields.

Future phases of the Mariucci Arena project will proceed when additional funds to be raised through the Athletics Department are available, Dickie said.

Phase two plans include upgrades to the men’s and women’s hockey offices, administrative offices and strength training facilities, according to the RFP.

The third phase includes a new “M Club,” with an alumni suite and seating, on the south side of the arena’s Level 3. The fourth phase calls for a new refrigeration system, reduced ice sheet size and a lower ice sheet to allow for more seating and better sight lines.

The reduced ice sheet would add 200 to 250 seats, creating additional revenue for the athletics department, according to the predesign report.

Mariucci’s ice system uses the “R-22” refrigerant, which is being phased out by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. It will be replaced by a more environmentally friendly alternative.

“It’s getting to the point where it needs to be replaced,” said Scott Ward, president of Wisconsin-based Stevens Engineers, who has been working on refrigeration design for Mariucci.

The U of M intends to award the design-build contract by the end of November, according to the RFP. Proposals will be evaluated based on the project team’s qualifications, schedule and work plan, cost, use of targeted businesses, safety and an interview.

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