Trine Banking Big on Athletics

A rendering of the main entrance to the new Thunder Ice Arena, which will be built on the southwest portion of the Trine University campus. A rendering of the main entrance to the new Thunder Ice Arena, which will be built on the southwest portion of the Trine University campus.

Trine University has announced a major development that will bring men's and women's hockey to the Angola campus. The planned $16 million project will see the construction of two athletic buildings, including a 1,000-seat ice arena. The 50,600 square-foot Thunder Ice Arena has an estimated cost of $4.5 million and will  include an NCAA-compliant ice rink, men's and women's lockers, concessions and a pro shop, among other amenities. The arena will play host to Trine's NCAA DIII hockey teams beginning in the fall of 2017.

The university is also building a nearly 75,000 square-foot, 3,000-seat athletic and event center, which will host Trine men's and women's basketball games. The building, which has an estimated cost of $11.5 million, will feature three basketball courts, a six-lane bowling alley and a fitness center available to both students and the public. 

Trine President Earl Brooks says the project will create 15 new jobs and bring 200 new students to campus. Once completed, Brooks expects the project to have a major impact not only on the local economy, but also on university enrollment.

The Thunder Ice Arena will also host club and youth hockey programs for the Steuben County YMCA and local school corporations. It will also be open for public skating at certain times. Brooks says the project has been in the works for several years, but initially focused on just one new building.

"As we investigated it further with our planning, we quickly learned that the university and our community would probably be greater served if we really went with two facilities versus one," says Brooks. "We looked really at the year-round use with ice in terms of the community and what we could do with youth leagues and camps and really found out that ice was to our advantage in the region."

Brooks says the university has received a large lead gift toward the cost of the project. The university intends to break ground on the Thunder Ice Arena in June with the athletic and event center breaking ground shortly after. Brooks says the projects are expected to be complete within the next 12-24 months.

Brooks says they have applied for membership to the National Collegiate Hockey Association and will soon apply to the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The interview process for prospective hockey coaches is also underway.

Brooks says he expects the project to have a major impact on the local economy and student recruitment and retention.
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