Merrimack College has announced a three-phase, $7 million renovation of its S. Peter Volpe Physical Education Center, originally constructed in 1972. The project, slated for completion in late 2001, includes a major overhaul of the rink portion of the facility.
Describing the renovation as part of a $40 million expenditure to improve and construct buildings on campus, Merrimack president Richard J. Santagati said, “We think this will be a very special facility that we’ll be able to use for a number of things, as part of a much larger master plan.” Head hockey coach Chris Serino described the to-be-completed facility as “a building that will be unique in Hockey East.”
Athletic director Bob DeGregorio explained the three phases of construction, illustrated by architectural drawings supplied by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass.:
According to DeGregorio, Merrimack is looking into off-campus practice facilities for the beginning of the 2001-02 season and will likely play a majority of its early-season games that year on the road, with some home games possibly to be hosted at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell.
“It’s safe to bet we will not be in the new rink before Dec. 1, 2001,” said DeGregorio, who added that the ice surface will remain at 200×85.
DeGregorio also noted the locker room to be converted for use by women’s hockey and said that Merrimack, which does not currently have a women’s program, is in the middle of discussions to add one “in a minimum of two years.”