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St. Thomas Announces Plans for $175 Million Multi-Use Arena : College Hockey News

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January 17, 2023
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University Targets Fall 2025 Opening

CHN Staff Report

St. Thomas announced today its plans to construct a $175 million, on-campus multi-use arena for its hockey and basketball programs. The project has a target opening of fall 2025.

A $75 million gift from Lee and Penny Anderson, the largest monetary gift in school history, put the project over the top.

The Andersons are long-standing donors to the university. Previously, the Andersons donated $60 million to the school in 2007 for the construction of the Anderson Student Center, AARC and Anderson Parking Facility.

Designs are still being finalized for what will be known as the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena, but the historic gift officially kicks off fundraising to raise $131 million for the venue on the university’s south campus. Partnering with design-build specialists Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Crawford Architects, St. Thomas aims to break ground on the new facility in 2024.

St. Thomas transitioned its entire athletic department from Division III to Division I in 2021, which was part of a broader strategy for the university.

St. Thomas hired Rico Blasi as its first men’s hockey coach in its D-I era. The team gained immediate entry into the CCHA, where it’s currently in year two of a five-year moratorium before it would be eligible for the NCAA Tournament. For now, the team plays at St. Thomas Ice Arena (operated by Saint Thomas Academy) in Mendota Heights, Minn.

Aside from hockey and basketball games and hosting special events, the arena is being envisioned as the new home for St. Thomas commencement ceremonies, academic convocations, speakers, career fairs and other events for the university and broader community. The arena will also provide potential opportunities for St. Thomas to partner with local schools, youth sports organizations, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations.

“This is about more than just hockey and basketball games – this is a gift that will be transformative for our entire St. Paul campus, enhance the experience of our students, and raise visibility for the university as a whole,” said St. Thomas President Rob Vischer. “It also creates a new community and economic asset for the Twin Cities, the state of Minnesota, and the region.”

Lee Anderson, 83, is a native of Minneapolis and a West Point graduate. He got his start in business in contracting and…

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