Clarkson to seek funds for renovation efforts to Cheel Arena

Cheel Arena on the Clarkson campus is scheduled to undergo a three-year expansion plan at a cost of about $40 million, according to the Watertown Daily Times.

The expansion would be done in multiple phases and would not displace the Golden Knights’ hockey programs.

First, though, the university needs to secure funding for the project.

“One of the most important things is that Cheel is the face of the community for us,” Clarkson president Tony Collins said in the report. “Put all the package together and it’s pretty exciting. It’s a quarter of a century old and it’s time to step forward. The idea that we are building on a facility that’s really good, we are enhancing it. It’s a pretty exciting project for us. Everything we’ve done around campus, we’ve raised money for our capital projects, and it’s no different for this project. We have a lot of alumni that support the institution. We’re looking to all sources. We’ve managed to achieve our other goals, so I certainly hope we can achieve this one.”

As part of the renovation plans, the locker room facilities would be revamped with hopes of hosting more events, possibly an NCAA tournament. The arena itself would feature entirely new seating, with separate stadium-style seats. The aisles would be wider and behind the goal would be expanded to feature two levels of seating. Seating capacity may go down by 100, but different ticket options may be offered.

There are also plans to expand the Barben Room to make it look more like a restaurant and seating near the restaurant would be part of a season-ticket package that would include a free meal before the games.

“Ten of the 12 [ECAC Hockey] schools, have had renovations to their rink,” Clarkson assistant athletic director Scott Smalling said to the Daily Times. “What we’re doing is looking to expand what we have from here and build from here. It’s going to put us on par with a lot of other major schools in the country. It will allow us to possibly get interest from kids where we may not have gotten interest. When Cheel was first built, we were a highlight in the hockey world. Now some of your facilities out there are just like pro rinks. This rink is going to be a scaled-down pro arena, an events center, not just for hockey, but used for events and normal student life.”

Clarkson also plans to make changes to the lobby, in addition to building an entrance on the side of the building that now is bordered by a hill and a road that leads to the upper parking lot.