KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 7, 2001 -- The University of Rhode Island has awarded the bid for construction of the $12 million, 2,500-seat ice facility to A.F. Lusi Construction Inc. of Greenville.
As part of the bid, Symes Maini & McKee Associates of Cambridge, Mass., will work with Lusi on the architectural and engineering portion of the project. The documents for the bid specifications were prepared by HOK Sports Facility Group, of Kansas City, architects for the Convocation Center.
Construction is expected to begin on the facility this summer. When opened, it will be one of only two ice rinks in Rhode Island to operate through the summer.
The facility will be located behind the tennis courts at the URI Athletic Complex off Route 138, and will be open year-round, seven days a week, 15 hours a day.
Even without a shovel piercing the sod yet, the facility is already generating interest.
"The Global Spectrum team (which will manage the facility) has received numerous calls from figure-skating groups, skating schools, high school hockey programs and adult and youth hockey leagues interested in using our facility," said Robert Beagle, URI vice president for University Advancement.
The skating complex is being developed separately from the Convocation Center, but the two are part of an overall goal to provide enriched academic, cultural, recreational and athletic programs for its students and the Rhode Island Community.
Plans call for an ice rink with National Hockey League dimensions (200 feet by 85 feet), two team locker rooms and four auxiliary locker rooms for youth hockey leagues and skating programs. There will be seating on three sides of the building. The north side will be left without seating to allow for future expansion.
Besides the ice rink, the building will house four restrooms, an area for putting on skates for public skating, a skate rental shop, a pro shop, two party rooms and an arcade.
Larry Bacher, of Gilbane Building Co., the program manager for the rink and Convocation Center, said opening is set for fall 2002.
URI is the only public Land-grant University in New England without an indoor ice rink.
To enhance the programming and business planning for the facility, the University selected Bradford R. Boss, an active URI alumnus and major supporter of athletics to head an Ice Rink Planning Committee. Boss, URI class of 1955, chairman emeritus of A.T. Cross in Lincoln, and a charter member of the hockey club at URI, made a $1 million personal donation to the Convocation Center project in February 1999. The facility will be named the Bradford R. Boss Arena.
When completed, the Kingston facility will be another recreational venue offered to URI students for whom ice skating and hockey may have been integral parts of their childhood and high school years.
A study completed for URI in November 1997 by facility planning and management firm Brailsford & Dunlavey found there is high demand within the state for ice time, which is currently outpacing supply.
From central to northern Rhode Island, and in Newport County, there are 13 indoor ice facilities. Because of the lack of indoor ice facilities in Southern Rhode Island and expected high demand, University officials view the campus facility as being able to support itself. The closest indoor skating facilities in Rhode Island are more than 25 miles from Kingston and surrounding communities in South County.
In addition, the URI mens hockey club, founded in 1952 and annually ranked among the elite of the more than 200 squads playing club hockey nationally, and the 2-year-old womens hockey club, will have a campus home for their games and practices.
There are no plans at this time to upgrade the clubs to Division I hockey programs.
For Information: Linda A. Acciardo 401-874-2116, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116