May 4, 2012

Michigan State Likely to Renovate Munn Ice Arena

By Sean Gagnier

There was a rumor that there was an internal deadline within the Michigan State athletic department to make a decision about the future of Munn Ice Arena; renovate or build new. It appears that Athletic Director Mark Hollis has made his decision - to renovate.

In an interview with the Lansing State Journal's Joe Rexrode, Hollis said that barring any unforeseen infusion of donor money, the school would move forward with a renovation project instead of seeking to build a new stadium.

Hollis puts the price tag on a renovation at around $20 million which is far more palatable than the $70 million that he believes it would cost to build a new stadium on campus for the hockey program. Renovation could be the better choice for the Spartans, Munn has the bones to regain its luster, it just requires some effort.

Head Coach Tom Anastos said that he is happy with either direction the university chooses to go in, in talking with Rexrode he said that he has seen conceptual sketches of both options and it's a win-win. Although Anastos feels that a new stadium could be constructed for $40-$50 million, he acknowledges that MSU will have their work cut out to raise the $20 million for the renovation.

Of immediate concern for Hollis is to replace the refrigeration unit for the arena, which would allow for more consistent ice conditions in the stadium. The current cooling unit is old and in desperate need of replacement, the $3 million tag for that will be footed by the department operational funds this offseason.

Suggestions on the renovation has said that the new Munn should remove the bench seating and install chairback seating throughout. In addition, expansions to the bathrooms and scouting areas could help move Munn back to being one of the better facilities in college hockey.

Improvements to the locker rooms and academic areas were highlighted by Hollis as being areas where upgrades need to take place, he also said that minor changes like adding air conditioning to the offices could happen during the renovation.

"I want to create space for NHL scouts to have a comfortable location. Recruiting-wise, you want to have a room that can be used to entertain recruits. I want to develop the changing rooms, locker rooms, academic areas.," Hollis told Rexrode. "We’ll have an entrance plaza and we’ll have our great history on display. We just want to kind of change everything to the positive for the fans and the kids.”


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