Alfond Money

Posted by: turkeyman on Mon Oct 12th, 2020 10:55 pm

  What to do with the Alfond?  The building is 43 years old.  The renovation about 15 years ago made it less fan-friendly, closing off sight lines from the corridors, etc., making if a bit claustrophobic.  Maine law requires that (K-12) schools be built to last 75 years, so if that is a guideline here, the Alfond could have a lot of years left.

  Not sure if the Alfond can make it to 75, but it`s at an age now when mechanical systems such as electrical and HVAC start to wear out or become outdated and need (costly) uprgrades.  If it were a car, we wouild say it was nickel and diming us to death.  Within 20 years or so, any money put into it would be throwing good money after bad.  I certainly don`t favor putting bb back there for 20 years or so to co-exist with hockey.

  Could it stand as a hockey rink and UMaine build a stand-alone basketball arena?  Dual-purpose arenas seem less appealing these days.  A bb official told me that when he worked the Alfond he was sweating on his upper body but his feet and ankles were always cold.  I`d love to see a new basketball-only arena, but I admit I`m not a huge hockey fan.  (In five years living in Montreal during the Guy LaFleur, Bob Gainey, Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer days, I never attended a Canadiens game at the Forum.)  

  Best basketball building I have been in was at Southwest Missouri State, now named Missouri State but still called SMS in Missouri. Floor is below grade, so fans enter at grade and walk down to seats.  There is virtually no track around the floor, so close-in seats are really close in.  Not a bad seat in the house, and it holds about 7,000.  It was full the day I was there, and the crowd really gets into the game.  I`m inclined to agree with MJ that basketball crowds may sometimes rise above 4,000 within a few years.  Last two years of Cindy, that happened fairly often.

  Would NCAA allow a building of 4,000 for Div. I mbb?  A coach at Green Bay told me that when UWGB built a new arena for wbb, the capacity was held down so the men couldn`t use the building and would have to stay in the old building.  The NCAA, I was told, has a higher minimum capacity for mbb than for wbb, even though both teams use the same court at almost all campuses.  Seems not to square with Title IX, but that`s what the coach said.  Oddly, wbb is the bigger draw at Green Bay, just as it is at UMaine.

  Can`t wait to see how this all unfolds.

  Bob Neal

  New Sharon





Posted by: parquetfloor on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 12:43 am
mainejeff wrote:

Trying to save Alfond Arena would be like trying to save the Bangor Auditorium.  Stop putting on the bandaids.....blow the damn thing up!

I also have to disagree with the "intimate setting" for hoops.  The past does not always indicate the future.....plus can we at least account for for max crowds of 3-4K that attend women`s hoops?  I also feel like men`s hoops is on the verge of gaining more interest and a larger following (please don`t laugh!).  More important than the intimacy is a well designed BASKETBALL arena......not a freaking hockey arena to play hoops in!  I Tthink you have to go with a 4K basketball facility.....it allows for growth in attendance....and would be big enough to hold special events (HS tourney, AE tourney games, big regular season games).

Good lord man, chill. I was just asking a question. I haven`t been on campus for 15-20 years so I wasn`t sure how crappy the Alfond had gotten. And my definition of intimate would be 3-4k, I don`t know what you were thinking. But it had more to do with seat location being closer to the court to create that environment. That was the "intimate" part. I also feel like crowds are going to get bigger and bigger. In terms of a well-designed basketball facility, my thought was basically taking everything out and just having the shell of the facility and building it to work well with basketball. I don`t know if that is even possible or feasible so I was just posing the question.

Like turkeyman said in the post above, I am not a fan of multi-purpose facilities. It is wear and tear on the court, teams can`t all get practice times, etc. It is a pain in the ass. That also is another reason why I was asking about a current Alfond retrofit. I don`t like the thought of another multi-purpose arena UNLESS their is a separate sheet of ice that hockey practices on so that hoops can practice every day in their game facility.

Posted by: turkeyman on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 8:31 am

  I shouild have used parquet`s word "intimate" to describe the arena at SMS.  We (the five Maine fans at the game) were in the fourth row behind the Maine bench and felt almost like we could reach out and touch the players.  

  Stony Brook arena is a bit like that, but access from above isn`t easy, and fans closest to the court have to hold it for a long walk to the rest rooms.  That`s an issue for folks of a certain age.  But it`s a design issue that can be dealt with early in development.

  Stony Brook lacks the intimacy of SMS.  I believe it might be the steepness of the slope of the stands.  At SMS, as at The Pit, the stands rise pretty sharply while at SBU they rise gradually.  That makes it easier for fans to move about, but seats them farther from the action.

  When the twin stadiums were built in Kansas City (mid-`70s), the baseball park (called The K for original owner Ewing Kauffman) was built with steep stands so upstairs fans feel right on top of the diamond.  Our sports editor at the Montreal Gazette told me hew got vertigo walking up to the press box at The K.  But he was a boozer who spent gameday afternoon on a tour of a whiskey distillery, so he might have been tipsy before he got to The K. 

  I`m not sure how large an arena can be and still be "intimate," but it surely can be larger than 3-4K.  SMS shows that.

  Bob Neal

  New Sharon 

Posted by: dunbar on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 8:32 am
parquetfloor wrote:

Good lord man, chill. I was just asking a question. I haven`t been on campus for 15-20 years so I wasn`t sure how crappy the Alfond had gotten. And my definition of intimate would be 3-4k, I don`t know what you were thinking. But it had more to do with seat location being closer to the court to create that environment. That was the "intimate" part. I also feel like crowds are going to get bigger and bigger. In terms of a well-designed basketball facility, my thought was basically taking everything out and just having the shell of the facility and building it to work well with basketball. I don`t know if that is even possible or feasible so I was just posing the question.

Like turkeyman said in the post above, I am not a fan of multi-purpose facilities. It is wear and tear on the court, teams can`t all get practice times, etc. It is a pain in the ass. That also is another reason why I was asking about a current Alfond retrofit. I don`t like the thought of another multi-purpose arena UNLESS their is a separate sheet of ice that hockey practices on so that hoops can practice every day in their game facility.

The whole "practice where you play" is a wasted argument and rarely happens on the Power 6 level and Maine doesn`t even do that now. You could also flip the hockey-basketball agrument from a hockey point of view.  

The issues with Alfond are structural. If it needs a new roof, you`re basically building a new structure over the existing footprint. HVAC is better since 2011, but no real upgrades to the electrical system have happened. As always, any upgrades will have to be brought up to code. I don`t see how they do that without losing about 500 seats, and with the amount of obstructed view seats in that building to begin with (sightlines are either great or terrible, there`s no in between there), what`s the ROI? 

Posted by: mainejeff on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 8:34 am

The more that I think about this the more I think that a basketball only arena is the way to go....and what will probably play out.  As Bob pointed out in his post....Alfond Arena is probably sticking around for another 20 years.

parquet.....my post was not directed toward you in particular but an intimate basketball arena in Eastern Maine automatically means 2K in most circles.....we don`t need another Pit in terms of capacity.  A new arena built in the year 2020 & beyond will be around until at least 2100.....so build it with the future in mind.  4K for UM and Eatsern Maine feels right.......not too big....not too small.  Designing for basketball only would be SWEET!  I hope that they can get this done in 2-3 years.

Posted by: fafan on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 9:53 am

What makes the Alfond so unique is the balcony right above the rink. Whether the Alfond is renovated or a new facility is built hope the balcony is incorporated into the design. 

Guess I agree on a separate hoop facility at 4K. BU and the Agganis was built for both at 7k, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agganis_Arena and used for both hockey and hoop until 2015 when they moved Hoop to the Chase arena due to poor attendance, sound familiar. 

Posted by: UMaineSuperfan on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 10:14 am

The current Alfond would make a great location for a parking garage. That building needs to go. Scrap it for parts and memories and move on. No reason why they can`t make a new rink either in the North end zone area or in either Corbett or Dunn parking lots. Whether that new rink is accompanied by a new hoops facility is not a huge deal to me. Cries of "it`s hard to schedule" are wildly overblown. Hoops would have, on average 1.5 home games per week and would still practice in the Pit.

Posted by: mainejeff on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 10:46 am
UMaineSuperfan wrote:

The current Alfond would make a great location for a parking garage. That building needs to go. Scrap it for parts and memories and move on. No reason why they can`t make a new rink either in the North end zone area or in either Corbett or Dunn parking lots. Whether that new rink is accompanied by a new hoops facility is not a huge deal to me. Cries of "it`s hard to schedule" are wildly overblown. Hoops would have, on average 1.5 home games per week and would still practice in the Pit.

Agreed on the parking garage and location. it`s the perfect spot for it and would fill a huge need for commuter parking, athletic events, field house events, etc.

Posted by: parquetfloor on Tue Oct 13th, 2020 12:11 pm
mainejeff wrote:

The more that I think about this the more I think that a basketball only arena is the way to go....and what will probably play out.  As Bob pointed out in his post....Alfond Arena is probably sticking around for another 20 years.

parquet.....my post was not directed toward you in particular but an intimate basketball arena in Eastern Maine automatically means 2K in most circles.....we don`t need another Pit in terms of capacity.  A new arena built in the year 2020 & beyond will be around until at least 2100.....so build it with the future in mind.  4K for UM and Eatsern Maine feels right.......not too big....not too small.  Designing for basketball only would be SWEET!  I hope that they can get this done in 2-3 years.

Ah, thank you for the clarification. I think we are all on the same page. I also agree that would be a perfect place for a parking garage. I had always held out hope that they would build one in between the Alfond Arena and Alfond Stadium. I thought it would have been perfect as you could have actually designed it so that it included a covered entry into Alfond Arena, which would have been great during those cold and snowy winter days/nights. There is no question there is a need for additional parking in that part of the campus and there has been for probably 30 years.

At one point they were going to redo that whole entrance to campus. Did that ever get done or is that hill stil the entry? I feel like with this money, they could definitely improve that whol entrance if it has not been done. In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn`t cost much and could easily be tied into the new construction projects that will be done.