The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the Program Statement for the University/Community arena at the University of Nebraska Omaha today.
By a unanimous vote, the Board of Regents approved the budget and scope of the University/Community arena project, allowing the project to move forward with fundraising and completing finalized designs for the arena which will be located near 64th and Center Streets.
“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 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 University/Community arena is planned to start in late 2013 with an expected completion date of June 2015.
Once built, the arena 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. The arena also will significantly enhance student life on the UNO campus and provide long-term stability for UNO Athletics.
In addition, the University/Community arena will provide the Omaha community enhanced entertainment venue opportunities, including graduation ceremonies and recreation, and provide a significant investment in a growing area of the city.
“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,” Alberts said. “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.
“To build a championship caliber program, you need outstanding practice and game facilities,” said Dean Blais, UNO head hockey coach. “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.”