UNO Community Arena
The arena will not only enhance the visibility of the UNO campus, but it will also provide great benefit, both economically and socially, to the Omaha metropolitan area.
Find answers here to some of the most frequently asked questions about the arena and the process of making this important dream a reality for Omaha’s team -- the UNO Mavericks.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is UNO building an arena?
- How much will the arena cost?
- How will UNO cover the cost of operating the arena?
- Who is involved in raising money for the arena?
- Are there plans to use additional land in the Aksarben area?
- When will the arena be finished?
- What will the arena be used for?
- What teams will be playing at the arena?
- How many seats will the arena have?
- What will be included in the arena?
Why is UNO building an arena?
In the fall of 2012, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle announced the Omaha Civic Auditorium would be closing in 2014 due to an estimated $29 million bill for basic upkeep. As a result, the need for a new facility that will hold the needed 6,500 guests is imminent. After the loss of the Civic, the only remaining arenas in the city will either be too big (CenturyLink Center) or too small (Ralston Arena). Presently, UNO pays to rent out multiple facilities around the metro area and does not take in any concessions or premium seating revenue.
In addition, the UNO men’s hockey team currently does not have a consistent practice location. UNO is also the only Division I (DI) hockey team in the four major conferences (NCHC, Big Ten, WCHA and Hockey East) without a dedicated playing facility. This puts strain on the time and finances of the UNO hockey program in a way not seen at any other DI institution in the country.
The goals of building an arena are:
- Recruit the nation’s top student-athletes
- Recruit the top students from across the country
- Elevate UNO’s community connection
- Heighten the campus experience for students
- Replace the Omaha Civic Auditorium
How much will the arena cost?
The estimated cost of the arena is $81.6 million, which does not include the $6.3 million provided from the City of Omaha Fund that will largely consist of infrastructure and road adjustments around the space where the arena will be located.
The arena will be paid for through a mix of private and public funding, including:
- $39 million in private donations
- $39 million in bonds from the University of Nebraska
- $3.6 million in university funds
Who is involved in raising money for the arena?
Fundraising for the arena is being led by Heritage Services of Omaha and the University of Nebraska Foundation.
Are there plans to use additional land in the Aksarben area?
The arena is a large first step into having a home on campus for all Maverick athletics. In the future, we hope to have spaces that our baseball, softball and tennis teams can also use.
When will the arena be finished?
The arena is projected to be completed by the fall of 2015.
All of the land for this project is owned by the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Foundation. HDR has been selected as the lead architect alongside Lempka + Edson from Kansas City. View HDR’s portfolio of the UNO Arena project. Kiewit Building Group of Peter Kiewit and Sons, Inc. will serve as the general contractor.
What will the arena be used for?
The arena will be a facility primarily used for sports teams from the UNO Athletic Department, but will also be available for community members for open skating events; graduations and commencements; and community sports competitions. UNO will commit a minimum 33% of the available ice time for community use.
Planned community use includes public skating, youth hockey, figure skating, club hockey, adult recreational hockey, hockey tournaments, campus recreation space, varsity practices, varsity games, school skate programs, religious services, commencement ceremonies and concerts.
The addition of a new multi-use facility to the Aksarben Village area of Omaha will open up a wide variety of options for not just area schools, but also for local sports leagues, recreational camps, and community organizations in need of operating space.
What teams will be playing at the arena?
The first tenant of the arena will be men’s hockey; eventually men’s and women’s basketball as well as women’s volleyball will hold their games at the arena. UNO will also have space for intramural teams to play and practice.
How many seats will the arena have?
The arena will hold 7,500 for hockey. No determination has been made as of yet involving capacity for basketball or volleyball.
What will be included in the arena?
Two sheets of ice are planned to be included for games and practice sessions. The practice ice will also be open to the community for open skating during the year. Concession stands will also be included in the arena.