SBJ/Dec. 14, 2009/Facilities

Rossetti’s Notre Dame design: Cathedral plus hockey barn

Notre Dame’s search for a new football coach dominated the news last week on campus, but the school has other changes in the works: It is also moving forward with a plan to develop a new 5,000-seat hockey arena to replace the Irish’s 42-year-old facility.

Sports architect Rossetti and general contractor Barton Malow, who share Southfield, Mich., as their Midwest hub of operations, are teaming up on the design-build project on a site about 500 yards south of Joyce Center, the program’s current home. Plans call for a 2011 opening.

Notre Dame, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s defending champion, plays its home games at the center’s north dome. The building has 2,713 seats and squeezed in a record 3,007 spectators for a January game against Michigan.

The new arena, a $50 million project, will not have suites but does include a premium club tied to a membership fee, said Doug Marsh, the university architect. A second ice sheet will accommodate the school’s recreational hockey needs.

Notre Dame now plays hockey in the north dome of the
42-year-old Joyce Center.

Rossetti designed an arena whose limestone-and-brick exterior ties into Notre Dame’s Gothic style of architecture, but the large areas of glass on the east side also give it a contemporary look, said design principal Matt Rossetti. The glass wall is important because it provides gateway views into campus, Rossetti said.

“It looks like a hockey cathedral,” he said. Inside, the architect’s intent is to develop an “old-time hockey barn look.” The designer is using Michigan’s 86-year-old Yost Ice Arena and its sloping roof trusses as a model, Rossetti said.

Officials will not release renderings until the final design is approved. Rossetti was scheduled to meet with Marsh last week to confirm the drawings.

 GO BLUE: Speaking of Yost Ice Arena, University of Michigan officials are selecting a concessionaire for that facility, plus Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena and venues for baseball, softball, soccer and track.

Incumbent V/Gladieux Enterprises of Toledo, Ohio, is competing for a long-term contract against Aramark, Sodexo and Boston Culinary Group, which submitted a bid before it announced its merger with Centerplate in November.

Moving forward, the question to be answered is how that deal affects the dynamics of Boston Culinary Group’s proposal. The merger is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010.

As of last week, BCG’s proposal was to stand on its own without Centerplate getting involved, said Jason Winters, chief financial officer for Michigan athletics. The scenario could change during Thursday’s oral presentations by the four finalists, Winters said.

V/Gladieux’s 10-year contract expires in June. The new deal coincides with Michigan Stadium’s $226 million renovation, a project that adds 82 suites and other premium-seat spaces to the 106,201-seat building.

Michigan expects to select a food provider by February, Winters said.

 SPORTS DEPARTMENT: Wal-Mart officials relied on two sports facility professionals to help the retail store chain develop a plan for effectively managing crowds during its Black Friday promotions.

Pete Kranske, co-owner of Landmark Event Staffing Services, and Russ Simons, a principal with Populous, were hired to form a strategic plan for post-Thanksgiving sales, confirmed Daphne Moore, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. Wal-Mart declined further comment.

In May, Wal-Mart officials announced they would work with a team of experts to develop the initiative after an employee was trampled to death the Friday after Thanksgiving 2008 at a store on Long Island, N.Y.

Kranske, a former executive with Contemporary Services Corp., has worked several Super Bowls. Simons, a former arena manager, is the architect’s facility operations consultant.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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