Based on a newly released report from UConn, a fair share of the Huskies’ athletic programs may be receiving upgrades to their home facilities in the not-so-distant future.
The university released a feasibility study Wednesday that was conducted by the architecture firm Populous. It outlined plans for a new soccer, baseball and softball stadium as well as suggestions for renovations to Freitas Ice Forum. The study can be viewed in its entirety here.
In the study, the proposed new baseball stadium–complete with 1,500 seats, artificial turf, lights, a scoreboard and a small indoor training facility – would stand where Morrone Stadium currently resides. UConn’s current baseball field, J.O. Christian Field, would be replaced with a practice field for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams. The current soccer practice field, located adjacent to Morrone, will be used for throwing sports such as javelin and shot put.
The proposed new soccer stadium would overlap the land presently occupied by the current throwing complex and Burrill Family Field, the home of UConn softball. The new soccer stadium would feature artificial turf, 5,500 seats and an attached building with suites, offices and locker rooms for both the men and women’s teams. The proposed softball stadium, which would sit next to the soccer practice field, would have 500 seats, artificial turf with a clay infield, lights and two indoor cages for pitching or hitting.
If the plan is adopted, a construction manager will be named in early June of this year. Construction could begin all at once, which is the cheapest and quickest solution, but will result in soccer, softball and baseball being relocated for a minimum of two seasons. A second option stagger the development, minimizing relocation costs for the teams and allows for subcontracting, but may increase the construction time and cost. Regardless of the decision, demolition could begin as early as Feb. 22, 2018.
The study also offered insight as to what to do with Freitas Ice Forum, the current home of the women’s hockey team and the practice facility for the men’s team. Populous suggests renovating the facility if Freitas will only be used as a practice facility. If UConn wants Freitas to host NCAA men’s hockey games, as is technically required by Hockey East by 2019, Populous suggests demolition of Freitas and the construction of a brand new facility.
If the university decides to renovate, only the south side will have seats added to it, at an estimated cost of $25 to $35 million. UConn men’s hockey currently plays at the XL Center in Hartford, and could likely stay at the XL Center indefinitely due to the high attendance numbers for the Huskies, with an average of 5,396 fans per game in 2014-15 (10th nationally, No. 1 in Hockey East) and 5,129 fans per game in 2015-16 (No. 12 nationally, second in Hockey East).