University nixes proposal for on-campus ice rink

Jan. 30, 2013, 10:03 p.m.

The University is no longer considering a proposal for the construction of an on-campus ice rink facility, according to administrators and team members involved in the discussions. While the Stanford club ice hockey team, which spearheaded the proposal, raised enough funds last year to support a feasibility study of the project, the University declined to conduct such a study, effectively terminating the project.

Courtesy of Jack Werner
Courtesy of Jack Werner

Deputy Director of Athletics Ray Purpur worked briefly with the club ice hockey team on the proposal, stating that the department had viewed the facility as “one of our master plan projects.”

After the proposal was presented to Stanford’s Capital Planning group, however, the University decided that the project was “not a priority,” Purpur said.

Purpur said that challenges facing the project– such as finding a suitable place for the rink to be located on campus– discouraged the school from pursuing the proposal. Additionally, an ice rink would be expensive and difficult to maintain, and the University expressed doubts about the revenues that could be raised from such a facility.

The Daily originally reported on the ice rink proposal last January after the club ice hockey team raised approximately $26,000 within 24 hours to fund a feasibility study. The proposed facility would have incorporated multiple sheets of ice, as well as storage and training space for other sports and recreational opportunities. At the time, team member Jack Werner ’14 anticipated construction taking approximately four years if the project received approval.

The Club Sports Facilities Department was not involved in the project, according to its director Tim Ghormley, however the Club Sports department was supportive of the idea. Director of Club Sports Pam Mahlow, who has worked with the ice hockey team over the past four years, expressed the potential value of an on-campus rink for the team’s recruitment. She echoed earlier arguments made by current players and other student-athletes, citing the difficulties the team faces by practicing and competing off-campus.

Mahlow confirmed that the team had been working independently for fundraising and planning. In fact, Mahlow said she first learned about the initial plans for the ice rink through The Daily’s coverage of the proposal more than a year ago.

“I haven’t really heard anything since then, either from the team or University, regarding it,” Mahlow said.

The Department of Capital Planning, a branch of Land, Buildings and Real Estate (LBRE), is responsible for reviewing and prioritizing capital project requests based on “fiscal, funding, physical and other constraints,” according to its website. Without a feasibility study, a project cannot proceed to the next stages of the development process, which include programming, schematic design and, ultimately, construction.

While the project appears dead for now, Purpur said the proposal might be revisited in the future and that he remains optimistic about the potential for Stanford to get an ice hockey rink on campus

“Even though the efforts to build the rink were ultimately unsuccessful, they demonstrated the huge amount of alumni support the team has,” Werner wrote in a statement to The Daily. “The team is alive and well and always looking for new players.”

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