Sacred Heart announced Saturday that the university will build a nearly 4,000-capacity, $60 million hockey and skating arena on its West Campus in Fairfield, Conn.
“The facility will be home to our Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs, our nationally ranked figure skating team and our men’s club ice hockey team,” said SHU president John Petillo in a statement. “It is the continuation of a robust, multi-year building and expansion program reflecting our significant growth, appeal and national status,” he said.
Scheduled for completion in 2022, the modern arena will feature a number of amenities for students and guests, including a pro shop, beer gardens, food venues, suites, meeting rooms and offices. Construction will begin this summer.
“This arena will be the Division I intercollegiate skating crown jewel and a standout facility in the Northeast,” added Jim Barquinero, senior vice president, enrollment, student affairs & athletics. “In addition to providing a sophisticated and beautiful home venue for our teams, it will serve our entire university community and residents throughout the region.
“It truly is the culmination of many years of athletic excellence by all our former hockey players – men and women – who have donned the Pioneer jersey.”
He said future plans call for the addition of a women’s club ice hockey team, synchronized skating and more.
“The arena will be engineered to the highest standards, with enormous attention to detail and quality involving the design of locker and training rooms, spectator space and the rink itself,” said Michael Kinney, senior vice president for finance. “It will include broadcast facilities and a wide range of complementary amenities.”
The building also will be used to host special events such as guest lectures, concerts, convocations and other activities open to students and the community. In addition, there will be ice skating time available to students, faculty, staff and community members.
“This arena will be a game-changer for Sacred Heart University, our student-athletes and coaches, visiting teams and the youth and families already supporting our athletic teams,” said Bobby Valentine, executive director of SHU athletics. “Not only does it provide a fitting venue for what will soon be a national hockey powerhouse, but it creates a halo effect that elevates all of our Division I athletic programs. It’s another example of Sacred Heart’s commitment to providing our student-athletes, students and fans with a remarkable experience whenever they step on our campus.”
Petillo noted the new arena will also serve as a classroom for SHU students studying in the areas of sports communication and media, sport management, hospitality and others.
“They will use it as a practice space for learning sound and video equipment, doing broadcasts, filming and more,” he said.
The arena is being designed by architectural firm ALG of North Dakota and the S/L/A/M Collaborative of Glastonbury.
It will be built on SHU’s West Campus, home of the university’s Jack Welch College of Business and Technology, Isabelle Farrington College of Education, a wide range of innovation and technology resources, a 27-room guest facility and a variety of other University departments and programs. It is located a minute off Exit 46 of the Merritt Parkway for easy access for students and the community.