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February 6, 2017

At its February board meeting last week, the University of Vermont unveiled an approximately $80 million plan to overhaul the Patrick-Forbush-Gutterson Athletic Complex that features both new construction and significant renovations to the existing facility, built in 1963.

After hearing a detailed presentation and discussing the project in three separate committee meetings, the board supported the project concept and agreed to a next step, approving $750,000 to create a detailed schematic design of the proposed facility.

Tom Gustafson, vice president for university relations and administration, Jeff Schulman, athletic director, and architect Colleen McKenna of Cannon Design took trustees through the presentation. The facility, trustees learned, will:

  • Enhance and consolidate the athletic complex’s health and wellness space in an 86,000-square-foot health and wellness zone that will remake the north end of Patrick. In the current facility, 15,000 square feet of space are dedicated to health and wellness.
  • Create a new Events Center for basketball competition and practice. The center will also accommodate health, wellness, academic, social, cultural and athletic programming elements. The space will have a capacity of 3,241 for games and 3,989 for events. The new Events Center would be built in what is currently a parking lot between Gutterson and Patrick. 
  • Preserve the character and feel of Gutterson Fieldhouse, one of college hockey’s most iconic arenas, but significantly upgrade it with the addition of chair-back seating, improved spectator circulation, and upgraded player development areas.  
  • Significantly improve internal circulation in the building, with a much simplified layout of halls and walkways.

“The need to upgrade and expand our facilities to better accommodate UVM’s health, fitness, wellness, academic, cultural, social, athletic, events and related programs has been discussed for many years,” said Gustafson. “The concept we presented to the board reflects the principles of earlier concepts but moves us significantly past them in meeting the needs of our students and the UVM community.

“This concept is realistic, achievable and, very importantly, allows UVM’s programs and facilities to remain on campus under the control and ownership of the university,” he said.

“The new athletic complex is a highly efficient concept that includes significant re-use of existing space and limited new construction,” said Schulman. “It will dramatically enhance campus health and wellness and position the varsity sports program for sustained competitive excellence for many years to come.”

The new facility will be paid with a combination of private gifts and university resources raised through bonding. Construction could begin as early as 2019.

See more renderings of the plan:

Health and Wellness Center

A renovation of Patrick allows for increased health and wellness space for the student body.

North elevation

The renovation provides a more accessible and inviting entrance to the health and wellness zone for the campus community.

Exterior of renovation

The new Events Center would be built in the parking lot currently located north of Gutterson.


The renovation would preserve the character of Gutterson Fieldhouse, one of college hockey's most iconic arenas.

In other news at the February board meeting:

  • The Investment subcommittee reported that the value of the university’s endowment reached a new high of $451 million as of December 31, 2016.
  • Committee members were informed that $7.5 million of the $11 million goal of non-debt funding for the Kalkin Hall Expansion has been raised; and that $9.3 million of non-debt funding has been raised for the STEM facility, which requires another $16.7 of non-debt funding.
  • To accommodate the construction of new residence halls, the predominant meal choice plan was increased 4.5 percent, while the traditional double room rate was increased 3.5 percent for a combined room and board rate increase of 3.8 percent. These increases remain lower than the majority of the University’s comparator institutions.
  • Richard Cate, vice president for finance and treasurer, proposed an incremental increase in base funding of $2 million per year over the next decade to help reduce the University’s approximately $370 million in deferred maintenance. Additionally, the administration also recommended $18 million of short-term borrowing over the next five years, and explained that new projects like the multipurpose center eliminates millions in deferred maintenance already on the books.
  • Laura Almstead, chair of the curriculum affairs committee of the Faculty Senate, presented the EPIR committee with an academic proposal for a new Ph.D. in Human Functioning and Rehabilitation Science from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences in conjunction with the Graduate College. The degree will expose students to a spectrum of clinical translation of research across fields associated with human functioning and rehabilitation. Two important points are the collaborative nature of the degree and the unique aspect of the program not seen in graduate programs across the country. The resolution approving the creation of the Ph.D. was approved unanimously.
  • Brian Reed, associate provost for teaching and learning, and J. Dickinson, faculty fellow for assessment, reported on the progress of establishing a university system to promote and support the assessment of student learning outcomes at both the program and institutional levels. The overarching goal of the project is to create sustainable systems for assessing whether students are achieving the learning outcomes that faculty have determined are essential to a UVM education. The guiding concept has been a continuous cycle of gathering information on students’ performance in key areas and then using the data to inform curricular changes, which in turn will improve students’ achievement of the identified learning outcomes. The establishment of a formal university system to promote and support the assessment of identified learning outcomes will help UVM meet NEASC’s accreditation standards while forwarding the larger goal of promoting a culture of assessment on campus.
  • Associate Provost Reed and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs Jim Vigoreaux reported on the progress of activities during the past year that support faculty professional development. Two essential components of the new vision for faculty development are to promote, recognize and celebrate faculty accomplishments, and to foster a culture of enhanced opportunities for administrative and leadership training. Accomplishments to date include the creation of the Provost’s Faculty Fellows Program, leadership and administrative training for new chairs and associate deans, a first-ever campus-wide faculty conference, on-going conversations on the meaning and importance of the Teacher-Scholar model at UVM, and the celebration of faculty accomplishments through an annual recognition banquet. 
  • In a presentation to the full board, Mark Dorgan, vice president for development and campaign director at the UVM Foundation who is currently serving as executive in charge, gave the board an update on the Move Mountains campaign. While the campaign is ahead of schedule, much work remains to reach the goal of $500 million, Dorgan said. He also shared with board members that the $66 million bequest made in September to the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine by Robert Larner ’39, M.D.’42, and his wife, Helen was ranked #11 on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “Largest Private Gifts to Higher Education, 2016” list. 

A complete list of all the resolutions approved by the board is available here

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