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MINNEAPOLIS-The University of Minnesota has decided that because both its women’s hockey program and its men’s and women’s tennis programs needed new facilities, thetwo needs could be combined into one building with a common public area. The architect for this project is Ankeny Kell Architects, P.A., located in St. Paul, MN, while Shaw-Lundquist is the general contractor.

Construction began last year. It is expected to be ready for occupancy in September.

The university hopes that development of a facility dedicated to women’s hockey will send a message to the state, as well as the rest of the country, that Minnesota is the leader in hockey development nationwide. The Board of Regents recently voted to name the hockey part of the project “The Ridder Arena.”

Mariucci Arena, the hope of the men’s hockey team since 1993, is booked to capacity with requests for ice time exceeding availability. The second ice sheet will then serve as a potential profit center for the operating budget of the facility.

The men’s program has continually fielded championship-caliber teams while the women’s program has not yet achieved this profile, both while not having an on-campus site they could call “home.” The new facility will serve as a competitive and recruiting advantage for both the men’s and women’s tennis programs.

The University of Minnesota Women’s Ice Hockey Arena and Tennis Facility is a two component project that takes advantage of certain jointly shared spaces. The project was originally conceived as two separate buildings separated by 18th Avenue Southeast. Afterreview of numerous options on these sites, it became clear it would be advantageous to share the same site by virtue of closing 18th Avenue Southeast.

Women’s Ice Hockey Arena is an 80,600-sf facility with a National Hockey League sized ice rink. There will be seating for 3,100, including 2,800 fixed positions in a combination of bench type and folding seats, and 300 standing room positions. The second component is the 79,100-sf Tennis Center, with 10 indoor tennis courts and spectator seating for up to 450.

Also incorporated in the project will be the construction of 12 outdoor tennis courts to meet program needs.

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