The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Ice arena receives donations

University students and the UW-Eau Claire Foundation committed a sizeable chunk of change recently towards the Hobbs Ice Arena expansion and renovation project.

Combined, they will donate $500,000 to the $6 million public-private partnership plan to update the 33-year-old community arena at 915 Menomonie St. The total contributions represents one-fourth of the $2 million campaign goal.

Student Senate passed a bill last week allowing for a $250,000 donation from the students through segregated fees, and the foundation matched this number.

“As we were planning for this project, the foundation board leadership thought it was very important to communicate to the students that we want to work in partnership with the students,” said Kimera Way, the foundation’s executive director. “The foundation wanted to recognize their generosity and provide additional incentive for the students to make a commitment.”

Story continues below advertisement

The arena is home to the Blugold men’s and women’s hockey teams, the Eau Claire Memorial and North High School hockey teams, the Eau Claire Figure Skating Club and the Eau Claire Youth Hockey Association.

It serves more than 250,000 visitors annually and usually fills to capacity but is currently too small to host NCHA events, Finance Commission director Tom Holtan said at Senate’s March 3 meeting.

The facilities are not adequate for athletes, as the locker and changing rooms are upstairs, while the showers are downstairs, he said.

According to the bill, the expansion will include men’s and women’s locker rooms, offices, a training room, weight room, entrance area and additional seating.

The foundation will also name the addition to the arena for the university’s hockey program the “Blugold Pavilion” in honor of Eau Claire students’ generosity, according to a letter from Way attached to the bill.

Freshman Christine Dickinson, a member of the hockey team, said she appreciates this large contribution from the university.

“I love our locker room as it is right now, but it definitely needs an upgrade, seeing as how we need to go downstairs to take a shower,” she said. “It shows that (the university) actually really cares about all the athletic programs. It’s nice for the university to show their athletes that even though it’s a D3 school, they can have everything (they) need.”

Funds committed by students will come from student segregated fees. According to the bill, this donation will not increase these fees by more than fifty cents for two years and a dollar for four years.

“I think it’s a good step in the right direction in showing the community that we’re willing to give back to them,” Sen. Jake Johnson said at the March 3 meeting.

The money donated by the foundation will come out of unrestricted funds it received from alumni donations over the years, Way said. The foundation can determine how to use this money at its discretion.

Freshman Tara Stefan said she’s never been to the arena before but knows athletes that use the facility. She said she doesn’t have a problem with segregated fees being raised a bit.

“I’d say it’s Okay as long as the fees aren’t out of control,” Stefan said. “As long as people know what it’s going towards and it’s benefiting an organization.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Ice arena receives donations