NHEC expansion to start

Friday, March 2, 2012

 drawing of what the National Hockey and Event Center will look in late 2012

A drawing of what the National Hockey and Event Center will look in late 2012. Drawing by JLG Architects.

A four-story addition to St. Cloud State’s National Hockey Center will increase by one-third the size of the 23-year-old facility, paving the way for its expanded use as a regional events center.

The $14.7 million construction project, which begins this spring, is the first of more than $30 million in planned enhancements.

About 50,000 square-feet will be added to the south side of the building and 20,000 square-feet of existing space will be remodeled, according to Steve Ludwig, vice president for administrative affairs. Visit the National Hockey and Event Center website.

Future work will complete the renovation of team locker rooms and training space, expand suites on the north side, add fan amenities, and improve the technical and acoustic capabilities of the arena.

The project was ceremonially launched at a March 2 groundbreaking on the main Brendan J. McDonald Rink.

"This is the latest installment in St. Cloud State’s ongoing contribution to the renaissance of Fifth Avenue," said President Earl H. Potter III. "Transforming our hockey arena into a regional events center will complement our city’s new River’s Edge Convention Center and enhance the quality of life in Central Minnesota. The days of St. Cloud being a fly-over community are nearing an end." 

A four-story glass atrium will house a main floor lobby and ticketing area adjacent to the main rink. The ground level will include areas that recognize project donors and celebrate the men’s and women’s hockey programs, Ludwig said. Elevators and stairs will lead up to the south concourse.

The addition includes two loading docks and a large receiving area. These and other improvements will enable the facility to host concerts, theater productions, trade shows, speakers, conferences, meetings and other sporting events.

The southeast corner of the building will feature a new entrance/ticketing area for the Community Rink. Patrons of what used to be called the Practice Rink will have access to a remodeled concession stand and two new restrooms, in addition to the existing restrooms.

The second floor of the addition will include a Husky Athletics team store, two new concessions stands and two new bathrooms. Current bathrooms and concession stands will be demolished to make the south concourse wider, improving foot-traffic flow at games and events.

The addition’s third floor, which will not afford a view of the main rink, will include unfinished space for future coaching and arena management offices.

The fourth level will feature about 14 spectator suites with bathrooms and working space for support services. Most of the suites will seat 12 spectators. The suites will improve the acoustical characteristics of the main arena, enhancing sound quality for concerts and other events, said Ludwig.

The project will be largely financed by charitable contributions raised by the St. Cloud State University Foundation, according to Craig Wruck, vice president for university advancement. Contact Kurt Stelten at (320) 308-2073 or visit to get involved or make a gift.

Potter said the university is committed to investing more than $30 million in the National Hockey and Event Center. University officials are working to secure major sponsorships, including naming-rights.

Investment in the building is critical to the aims of Fifth Avenue Live, a community-campus initiative to revitalize the main north-south boulevard through campus. Expanding and renovating the building will maintain the competitiveness of the university’s NCAA Division I hockey programs, especially the men’s program, which joins the new, high-profile National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013, said Potter.

Architects are JLG Architects, Fargo, and Hagemeister Mack Architects, St. Cloud. Construction manager is Donlar Construction, Waite Park.

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