Regents approve funding for new women’s stadium

by Patrick Hayes

The Board of Regents unanimously approved an additional $6.8 million in funding for the new women’s hockey and tennis facility Thursday, capping the cost for the facility at $20 million.
The extra funds are needed to offset higher-than-expected utility costs, said Eric Kruse, vice president for University Services.
In addition, the extra funds will pay for four more outdoor tennis courts and a weight room, which will be used by women’s athletics, Kruse said. The funds will also cover additional construction costs.
The facility will provide the tennis teams with a home on campus, which will help save time, said Martin Novak, women’s tennis coach. The team will no longer have to use Bloomington facilities for practice.
The facility will have 12 outdoor and 10 indoor tennis courts.
It will also include a smaller hockey rink for the women’s team and less seating for fans. This will help boost season ticket sales and make the game more competitive, said coach Laura Holldorson.
Originally the project was approved for $13.2 million in September 1998. However, construction bids were $3.5 million over budget. As a result, the University had the women’s and men’s athletics departments raise an additional $1.5 million in May.
The athletic departments also raised more than $1.4 million to cover the debt of the arena over the next five years as instructed by University President Mark Yudof, Kruse said. Yudof has also told the departments to come up with a plan to cover the debt beyond that point.
While regents fully supported the new facility, some expressed concern.
“I think the message has to come out that this isn’t a Christmas tree,” said Regent Robert Bergland. “We can’t keep adding ornaments to this thing.”
Regent Maureen Reed also said she was concerned the project might need more funding. However, Kruse reassured regents more money will not be needed.