In 2021, the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn., became the first Division III institution in the modern NCAA to transition directly to Division I. Plans for a new multipurpose sports arena on campus will support that move.
The Lee and Penny Anderson Arena project, including practice facilities, will serve as the new home for the school’s men’s and women’s hockey and basketball programs. It is scheduled to break ground in 2024, with a target opening in fall 2025.
Ryan Companies US, Inc., was selected as the design-builder, in partnership with Crawford Architects. The new arena complex will provide competition and training facilities for men’s and women’s athletics, and house commencement ceremonies, academic convocations, conferences, career fairs, and other events for the university and broader community.
Preliminary design concepts envision seating configurations that accommodate quick conversions between various athletic and university events. Spectators will be on top of the action, as intimate seating and balconies will create a home-team advantage that will enhance the game-day experience for players and fans.
The exterior design of the sports arena will represent an intersection of the school’s collegiate Gothic architecture and a more modern aesthetic. LEED Silver certification will be pursued.
“St. Thomas has been evolving from small Catholic liberal arts college to a comprehensive national Catholic university, and the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena will be a powerful engine for that journey,” said St. Thomas President Rob Vischer.
The university recently announced that it received a $75 million gift from Lee and Penny Anderson of Naples, Fla., for the arena. The donation is the single largest monetary gift ever given to a Minnesota university.
On the building team:
Owner: University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
Design architect: Ryan A+E, Inc. (design studio of Ryan Companies US, Inc.)
Sports architect: Crawford Architects
MEP engineer: IMEG
Structural engineer: Meyer Borgman Johnson
General contractor: Ryan Companies US, Inc.