Two College Small Division 1 Hockey Programs Want New Venues

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Robert Morris University Hockey

The public is paying more and more for private entities’ demand for new athletic venues.

If you think public spending for athletic venues is confined to just big time pro sports and minor league franchises, think again. The public pays for venues built for college sports programs as well. The latest venue that will be constructed is in Schenectady, New York and will be used by the Union College men’s hockey team and the college’s women’s hockey team when it opens in 2025. New York State residents are kicking in $10 million for the project that is expected to cost around $50 million at its competition. The Schenectady County Legislature is contributing $5 million and the Schenectady City Council is throwing in another $2.5 million. That is $17.5 million or about 35 percent of the project’s cost. Union College will contribute $20 million over 25 years. The rest of the cost will be covered by contributions.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a private school, Robert Morris University wants to build a $28 million arena on campus for its Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs and is seeking $10 million from Pennsylvania legislators for the project. RMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris King released a statement that the school is “actively exploring” building a new arena. “This strategic initiative represents a blending of our pursuit of competitive excellence with our ongoing commitment to serving the needs of the greater community. The new arena would serve as a vital source of revenue, crucial for the long-term sustainability of our Division I ice hockey programs, whose resurgence has been fueled by fundraising support.” Robert Morris University is applying for state funding through Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Robert Morris University officials are hoping to raise $18 million to pay its share of the construction costs. The taxpayers are paying for something most of them never use, a sports venue.

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