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Michigan State planning upgrades to Munn Ice Arena, football building

September 13, 2018
<p>Construction workers stand outside of Spartan Stadium after being evacuated due to a bomb threat July 2, 2014. A tweet from Alumni Association head Scott Westerman stated that all employees within the building were accounted for. Danyelle Morrow/The State News</p>

Construction workers stand outside of Spartan Stadium after being evacuated due to a bomb threat July 2, 2014. A tweet from Alumni Association head Scott Westerman stated that all employees within the building were accounted for. Danyelle Morrow/The State News

Photo by Danyelle Morrow | The State News

As Michigan State's football staff gets bigger and hockey coach Danton Cole tries to restore MSU hockey to its former glory, upgrades are in order.

The Skandalaris Football Center in the Duffy Daugherty Football Building will undergo renovations next year, according to plans revealed by MSU’s infrastructure, planning and facilities department. And Cole said construction on Munn Ice Arena will look to start by September 2019.

“We’re real excited, love the commitment that’s out there,” Cole said in a Sept. 11 news conference. “We’re ahead on our five-year plan.” 

Cole said the renovations to Munn will add new display technology such as video screens, improved lockers rooms, offices, a weight room, practice facilities and an MSU Hall of Honor. He said the proposed renovations won’t disturb the day-in, day-out hockey operations. 

Renovations will bring a new south entrance to Munn, the second-oldest Big Ten hockey venue behind University of Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena. Or as Cole called it, a “front porch." 

”It’ll be a nicer approach, and that’ll be the front porch of it,” Cole said. “Some of the renderings, you can kind of see where it’ll mirror from an elevation and a lighting type perspective, kind of like how Breslin is and the football building or (Spartan Stadium). So when you’re driving on campus, if you’re coming that way, hopefully you’ll see all that stuff lit up in the morning and has a really nice view to it.” 

Deputy athletic director Greg Ianni said MSU has started the process of looking for an architect to work on the Munn project. 

“Once we get the architect on board, we’ll start the planning process,” said Ianni, who oversees MSU’s athletic facilities and its long-term developments. “The idea is to take this back to the board in spring, early-summer 2019, with the intent of starting construction in fall of 2019, completion fall of 2020.” 

Ianni said the Munn project is expected to cost around $16 million, funded through donations, which Cole said are about “50 percent” there. Munn was last renovated in 2014 for a new HVAC system, ice surface, LED ribbon boards and increased chairback seating, which cost around $6.5 million. 

“We have to take a deeper dive into the design and planning, but that’s what we’re shooting for,” Ianni said. 

The Board of Trustees approved the initial plans for Munn in an Aug. 31 meeting.

“It’ll be a help in the sense that, we can do things efficiently. I think it puts us in a better teaching situation and I think it will put us in a better developmental situation for an elite athlete,” Cole said. “It’s not without challenges, but other schools have their challenges as well. Munn is a fantastic place, has a fantastic history and we can get it done.” 

For Skandalaris, the renovations will include a new conference room surrounded by offense and defense rooms, an all-staff meeting room, larger restrooms and updates to existing offices. The project will also update the Demmer Family Hall of History, which is located in the lobby of Skandalaris, with new video screens.

“I think that’ll be a big improvement and help our efficiencies over there with our coaches and their programs,” Ianni said. 

The renovation is estimated to cost between $5.5 to $8 million and is expected to be funded through athletic fundraising or debt that’s repaid through athletic fundraising. The estimate may change as the project is refined during the planning process.

MSU received an initial approval for the project from the Board of Trustees in a June 22 meeting. The proposed renovations will be back in front of the board at its Oct. 26 meeting for final approval. 

If the board approves the project, construction will begin in early January 2019 and end in mid-August 2019. 

This project comes after the NCAA allowed football programs to add a 10th assistant coach this offseason. The Spartans have 31 football staffers for the 2018 season, from coaches to analysts, according to the MSU athletics website.

This is the first time renovations will be made to Skandalaris in a decade, since the $15.5 million renovations to the Duffy Daugherty building in summer 2008.

Spartan Stadium’s south end zone also received upgrades in 2017, providing more restrooms, capacity for more concessions, renovating the south end zone to emulate gates, and donor plazas in the north end zone and room for future expansions. The expansion also moved the ticket gates from the stadium to meet recommendations by the Department of Homeland Security.

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