Arena plans on course

Published 10:00 pm Friday, July 31, 2009

The Troy University Board of Trustees recently approved the construction of a new multi-purpose sports arena on Troy’s campus, a move that had been in the works for quite some time.

Representatives of planning company Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood have presented a plan to build the arena adjacent to the track, on a site that is currently home to Trojan Oaks golf course.

According to Athletic Director Steve Dennis, those plans will likely be approved.

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“We’re in the process of finalizing it, but that does appear as if that’s where it’s going to be located,” Dennis said. “We’re just trying to take advantage of that space as the university grows.”

While Dennis said the location of the arena could change from its current proposed location next to the track, it will still likely be constructed on the golf course.

“We’re still in the early planning stages,” Dennis said. “We’re looking at one site, but the architects will have to come up with a plan and come back to us for input on design before we finalize anything. We won’t know an exact location until the final plan falls into place.”

Dennis said it is important for the public to know that the construction of a new facility will not just benefit athletics, but the entire university and city.

“This is really going to be a multi-purpose facility,” Dennis said. “It will be used for convocations and plenty of other events outside of athletics. We won’t know what all we can use it for until we get out and do the market analysis. We want people to understand that this isn’t like a gym. This is a multi-purpose facility, and the athletics part of it is just one piece of the puzzle.”

Dennis said Troy students are the ones who ultimately will benefit from the new facility, rather than the athletics department.

“As we continue to mold our university, we want people to know that this facility is really for all of our students, much like the new dining facility or the new fraternity village,” Dennis said. “Of course, this will be a great attraction that will help Troy to grow and help to bring more students here.”

However, the new facility will benefit Troy athletics, namely the basketball programs.

“From a basketball standpoint, I bet this will give us a chance to elevate our program and continue to improve the way we have recently,” Dennis said “We want to be a top-notch program and we want to be in the NCAAs. That is certainly our goal, and we are going to try our best to get to where we want to be.”

With the arena plans nearing approval, the future of the golf course appears to be in serious jeopardy.

“After we build this facility, will there be room for a nine-hole golf course on campus? I don’t know,” Dennis said. “But, we will look at the space we have available and study it and decide how to use that space in a way that will benefit our university and our students. We’ll certainly look at the feasibility of using that space in a multitude of ways.”

While there may no longer be a golf course on campus, Dennis said the opportunity for growth was too great to ignore.

“This is a time to evolve and this is an outstanding opportunity to grow,” Dennis said. “This may impede on the golf course, but once we get where we want to be, it will benefit us ultimately.”

Once the arena plans have been finalized, further development of the remaining space will be planned.

“You know early on, we’ll use block A of that space for something and then we’ll decide what to do with Block B,” Dennis said. “From there, we’ll just kind of go down the alphabet, so to speak.”

The new arena is just another example of the exciting changes that Troy has undergone recently and will continue to undergo in the near future, Dennis said.

“I’m excited about the university,” Dennis said. “It’s a great time for not just Troy University, but the city as well. This is a good time to be in Troy. We’re going to continue to grow and we’ll need the support from the community that we’ve always had. This is a fun time around here and I’m excited to see where we go in the next 10 to 15 years.”