Messa Rink to get $10 million renovation makeover

Union’s home arena, Messa Rink, will soon be undergoing $10 million in renovations, according to the Daily Gazette.

The college has approved fundraising to renovate the nearly 41-year-old facility, Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin told the paper.

There is no timetable yet for the project.

“It will be all fund-raised, just like the majority of our capital improvements on campus,” McLaughlin said.

The project looks to include a new video scoreboard, a new entrance across from Bailey Field, a new floor for the ice surface, along with new boards and glass, new coaches’ offices, a hospitality room that will look out at the rink and Bailey Field and new concession stands and bathrooms on both sides of the rink.

New seating is also part of the proposal. Many of the seats in the lower level will go right up to the glass and will have back support. The upper-level seating will be bleacher seats.

“Our plan is to make sure we have the right amenities for our fans to have a terrific experience,” McLaughlin said in the report. “We have a terrific product on the ice, but we need to make sure that we service our fans and alumni well. We’ve been looking at this for the past couple of years. We’ve been working with Clough, Harbour and Associates. We have gone through a few iterations on designs. They’ve come back with something that we feel good about.

“We just feel that it’s time. This is a building that was built in the mid ’70s for one Division III program. Through that 40-year period, it’s now housing two Division I programs. It’s just time to take a look at upgrades to the rink. We want this done as quickly as possible. We want to make sure that we do it in a fiscally responsible way. That’s how we’ve always done things on this campus, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Union men’s coach Rick Bennett told the Gazette that “it’s a really exciting time to be a part of Union hockey, especially as a player.”

“It’s a feel-good thing. Hopefully, it’s going to happen here soon. For all the alums and the players, the buzz around campus is going to be an exciting time. I don’t feel we went into this trying to keep up with the Joneses. I feel we needed to correct some things. This was more about Union College and Union hockey than worrying about others. I feel that’s the way the school has always gone about its business. It’s gone about its business in a right way. The way they’re approaching this is first class.

“I know when that shovel goes in the ground, the right plan is in place.”

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