Future of the Ice Arena

Campus Recreation will maintain operations at the Ice Arena for the foreseeable future. There is currently no plan to close the Ice Arena.

History

Body

The University of Illinois Ice Arena was built in 1931 and designed by Chicago architecture firm Holabird and Root. Over the past 92 years, the Ice Arena has been host to all university ice sporting and recreational needs. It serves as a venue for the Fighting Illini men’s and women’s hockey clubs, synchronized skating club, recreational figure skating, short track speed skating, university classes, intramural activities, public skating, and local youth/high school hockey.

After decades of serving tens of thousands of patrons from both campus and surrounding communities, the historic building has incurred significant wear and tear, and its use is being examined to determine how the facility can best serve patrons in the future.

Gathering Feedback

Campus Recreation is committed to engaging students and community patrons to determine their needs for the space.

The Ice Arena is currently funded by student fees. Therefore, the voice of the student body will play a significant role in determining the future of the facility. 

As such, a question regarding the Ice Arena will appear on the Spring 2024 referenda. Campus Student Election Commission will hold online voting from February 27 - 29, 2024, in which all students will have the opportunity to provide feedback about the future of the facility.

2022 Survey

A Campus Recreation Facility Survey was administered in Fall 2022 to a random sample of 5,000 full-time, in-person students. Students were provided background and context about the Ice Arena, including how it is currently used and the significant renovations required to maintain operations of the facility. The response rate was high enough to assume a 6% +/- margin of error, with a 95% confidence interval.

Students were given four options to choose from: 

  1. Renovate the existing Ice Arena, resulting in a $13 fee increase
    • Continued use for ice skating, hockey, etc.
  2. Build an indoor Multipurpose Court facility with an e-sports lounge, resulting in a $5 fee increase
    • To be used for recreation activities such as basketball, badminton, pickleball, etc., while the e-sports lounge would be used for video game competitions.
  3. Build an indoor Turf Field with an e-sports lounge, resulting in a $4.50 fee increase
    • To be used for field sports such as soccer, field hockey, etc., while the e-sports lounge would be used for video game competitions.
  4. None of the above

Survey Results

  • 88% of students were aware of the University Ice Arena.
  • 35% of students had used the Ice Arena during their time at Illinois.
  • Students preferred to change the ice arena to a multi-purpose court. 
  • The majority of respondents preferred the multi-purpose court before and after the introduction of student fee increases, at 35% and 32% respectively.
  • 28% of respondents were not interested in any of the options after the introduction of fee increases.

Timeline and Process

The assessment timeline and steps taken to date can be found below.

Time Period Action
October 2022
  • Survey administered to a random sample of 5,000 students
  • Club Sports that utilize the Ice Arena made aware of survey
November 2022
  • Kinesiology leadership and community groups made aware of survey
  • Survey results presented to SFAC and TPAC
December 2022
  • Survey results presented to Student Affairs leadership
September 2023
  • Facility audit conducted by FIA
October 2023
  • Presentation to ISC and request for referenda question submitted
November 2023
  • Meeting with Student Experience Committee (part of ISC) who recommended additional data gathering and language edits to referenda question
  • Created survey for Spring 2024 dissemination 
December 2023
  • Notice of intention for referenda question sent to Kinesiology, Club Sports, and community groups
  • Meeting with Kinesiology, Club Sports, and community groups to provide updates and clarify processes. Watch the virtual meeting recording.
January 2024
  • ISC Student Experience Committee indicated desire to place referenda question up for vote in Spring 2024. Committee wanted feedback from Registered Student Organizations who utilize the Ice Arena. There were ongoing discussions on how much context can be provided and overall phrasing of the referenda question.
February 2024
  • Questions submitted to ISC for review and determination of what will be placed on ballot.
  • Online student voting occurs on February 27-29, 2024.
March 2024
April 2024
  • Campus Recreation requesting Ice Arena feasibility study with Illinois Facilities & Services.

Communication

Information about this process was shared with campus leadership, the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC), Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC), and Illinois Student Council (ISC), as well as club sports and community groups that utilize the Ice Arena. Results of future patron feedback and student elections will be shared with Student Affairs and campus leadership to ensure any decision is informed appropriately and policies are followed. Information and updates about this process will be shared on this webpage.

Contact

Opportunities to provide feedback will be shared through multiple avenues including email, social media, and in person. If you would like to provide feedback, please fill out the Feedback Form.