Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hastings 'concerned' about civic center cuts

Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings on Tuesday said he is "concerned" about the slim and trim budget and proposed cuts to the Verizon Wireless Center project and hopes that money can be found to get the things his program needs during next summer's renovation.

"It's not a Band-Aid," he said in a story published in Wednesday's Free Press. "It's the future."

As in the future of the program.

During Monday's Mankato City Council meeting, City Manager Pat Hentges reported on the cuts and said that Minnesota State is going to have to come up for the money to pay for things like therapy whirlpools, steam rooms, a reception area, displays and other items.

Those items, Hastings said, not only were expected to be in the final project but things like the whirlpools are vital, items in the modern care of the players through injury.

The cost of the civic center expansion project is just under $31 million, but the hockey portion of the project is set at just $4.7 million, and now there is a shortfall of at least $444,000.

Hastings said he was told since the day he was hired that state bonding money would take care of the facility issue that Minnesota State has at the civic center and All Seasons Arena, its part-time practice home (and current full-time home of the MSU women's team). 

After officials toured Bemidji's now 4-year-old, $75 million Sanford Center (they also toured the 4-year-old, $80 million Amsoil Arena in Duluth recently), Hastings was told that MSU's renovation would be far better than what Bemidji has. Now, he's not so sure.

He's also seeing the arena arms race escalate, with Nebraska Omaha opening an $82 million on-campus arena next season, Minnesota proposing $8 million or more in locker room and other renovations to Mariucci Arena and even hockey's crown jewel, North Dakota's Ralph Engelstad Arena, getting a multi-million-dollar locker room update (link includes video of the completed project).

"We're at a point of importance," Hastings said.

And, oh by the way, there's still no talk about a video scoreboard.


Jeff said...

It's pretty amazing that the hockey program put all of it weight behind this project, lobbied the legislature, is the main tenant of the arena and is the first one cut. Kind of seems like a slap in the face of the program and university.

jeff_williams said...

I'm not too concerned. The things cut are items that can be placed once the building is built and can be supplied through boosters and donations. If the building footprint was cut then I would really have a problem.

Hockey25 said...

It's amazing how well Minnesota State's athletic teams do considering their facilities, except for the Taylor Center. The turf and grounds crew does a great job, but the football team plays in a horrible stadium. For example, look at St. Cloud St and UMD their stadiums are great. The baseball team who is one of the top teams in the country plays on a field without lights and undersized dugouts. The hockey team who is on the rise can't get a fair shake either. We need to give credit to the coaches who do a fantastic job with what they are given to work with in terms of facilities.