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New talks of an arena at UVM

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Burlington, Vermont - November 11, 2010

New talks of a major addition to the University of Vermont. School officials now hope outside assistance will help them build a new sports arena on campus.

The plans to build an arena for UVM have been up in the air for years now. Thursday, the university said those plans are back on-- but with the help of outside firms they hope will take the vision forward.

The university released a request for information or RFI for a development plan to build a new multi-purpose stadium. They are soliciting ideas from professionals on how to move forward with what the university calls a much-needed facility. This comes almost two years after a campus task force documented the need for an arena. But there is still no specific plan for building one-- or any funding to build one.

So now, UVM is open to considering any combination of private and university involvement for financing, development and management, including enough space to seat at least 6,000 people for hockey and 7,500 for basketball. They also hope it will accommodate concerts and other events, and must be located on or within a mile of the main campus.

UVM officials say this is just one way to think outside of the box to get the arena built.

"I think we just had quite the dose of reality across the world, not only at UVM. We're just trying to be creative in a way to do this without a fusion of university funds or at least a primary infusion of university funds. There may be some other way to do this," said Tom Gustafson of UVM.

And so companies not only in Vermont but all across the nation, have until December 20 to submit a proposal to the university to be considered.

The document identifies two potential sites for the arena, including a 42-acre tract north of Williston Road and east of East Ave, which currently has a few UVM buildings located there. There's also a 21-acre tract on the current athletic campus, south of Main Street and west of Spear Street.

Officials said the cost if built in the near future could be around $85 million.

Melinda Davenport - WCAX News

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