Bentley is building a new multipurpose arena as part of its ongoing commitment to enhance the campus experience for its students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters. The university teamed with Architectural Resources Cambridge (ARC) to design a new venue with approximately 2,000 fixed seats that can also accommodate up to 3,400 for large scale events including seminars, concerts, and guest speakers; the building will also simultaneously serve as an ice hockey arena, providing Bentley’s NCAA Division 1 hockey team a much-needed home rink. Since 1977, the team has used the John A. Ryan Arena in Watertown.
Bentley worked closely with the Conservation Commission for the City of Waltham prior to any construction to ensure the environmental safety of the project. Before the start of foundation excavation, soil samples were taken at the project site, tested by McPhail Associates and results met all state and federal regulations. We will continue to make sure the land is safe and there are no adverse conditions that come from construction. Bentley's Director of Sustainability has been intimately involved with the project since day one and has helped ensure the project receives Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, one of the industry's highest honors for environmental friendliness.
The new multipurpose arena is part of the university’s comprehensive 10-year capital plan to modernize and expand the campus including renovating academic buildings and residence halls, building a new health and wellness center and a new academic building.Throughout 2016, a working group appointed by the president studied the feasibility of the long-proposed multipurpose arena to be located on campus. The new building will be funded by a combination of private gifts and operating reserves.
- The building will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification requirements for sustainable design, construction and operations; features include a solar-panel roof, high-efficiency lighting and water-saving bathroom fixtures.
- A glass-walled function room will provide space for a range of community and campus events.
- The Division 1 men’s hockey team will have a wide range of amenities including locker rooms for Falcon and visiting teams, equipment room, weight room and sports medicine center.
- Designed to promote connection, the entry will include a grand staircase to the upper lobby where a second-floor concourse will enable people to gather pre- and post-event or during intermissions.
The location for the venue is on Bentley’s south campus at the former site of the tennis courts. Construction begin in September 2016 with an anticipated opening in early 2018.
Bentley president Gloria Larson stated, “As a university, we will continue to invest in important strategic initiatives that raise academic quality, as well as those that provide a rich student life that all place-based higher education institutions should offer. This multipurpose arena will enable us to host a wide range of student and academic events, as well as support our successful Division 1 hockey program. ”
Bentley vice president of student affairs, Andrew Shephardson, added, “The arena will give an incredible boost to an already rich student life experience at Bentley. Key to that experience will be home games that really are at home. Being able to also offer a wider variety of events, lectures, and programs will make campus life even more exciting. Students have been a driving force behind this project and it is gratifying to see their commitment pay off.”
Bentley is one of only five Atlantic Conference Hockey teams to have won at least 50 games over the last three seasons and is tied for the fourth most conference wins over the same span. The Falcons have not only played at both Fenway Park and the Barclay Center in the last couple years but have posted victories in both venues. The team has also registered at least one win over a member of the elite Hockey East six conference teams over the last eight years.
Bob DeFelice, athletics director for Bentley says, “We are obviously very excited about building a new arena for our university. It will provide our Division 1 hockey program a much-needed state-of-the-art facility as their home, and provide a large enough space to host a wide variety of events for the student body, which has been missing from our campus. It’s an important investment in the future of our school.”
As a team and individually, the Falcons have been consistently rewriting the record book with coach Ryan Soderquist holding the all-time program wins record at 187 and counting. Soderquist, who was a player when Bentley made the move to Division I, is also the program’s all-time leading scorer with 173 points. As scholar-athletes, the Falcons also excel in the classroom with the team posting a 3.45 grade point average during the 2015-16 academic year.
“I am grateful to the Board, our president, leadership team and the many others involved for all their hard work and commitment to this project. As the hockey coach, it is a dream come true for me and clearly demonstrates the commitment to and excitement around our evolving Division 1 hockey program. The new venue pays tribute to all who have played for Bentley, the current team, and it will help us attract talented student-athletes to one of the top universities in the country,” says Soderquist.