A new, 3,000-seat arena will be built on North Campus and host competitions for six of Ohio State’s sports programs.
The construction of the Covelli Multi-Sport Arena is projected to take place from 2016 to 2018, with an overall budget of $30 million to be paid with developmental funds. Set to be located on the corner of Fred Taylor Drive and Ackerman Road, it will be used by the men’s and women’s volleyball and gymnastics teams, as well as the fencing team and the wrestling teams.
“I think the facility will give the university and the programs that compete in there some great exposure,” said Mike Penner, senior associate athletic director at the OSU Department of Athletics. “It’ll be a first-class facility for our student athletes to compete in.”
Approved by OSU’s Board of Trustees in August, the new facility will house men’s and women’s volleyball team operations, which will include locker rooms, offices for the coaches and a floor that will be used for practice and competition for both teams, Penner said.
Penner said the floor will have a “multipurpose use,” as the fencing, wrestling and men’s and women’s gymnastics teams will also use it.
“(The floor) is going to provide a new space for those teams to compete,” Penner said.
Ryan Tomlinson, a third-year in computer science and engineering, and a member of OSU’s co-ed fencing team, said he thinks that the new arena can help the athletes, as well as draw some more attention from fans.
“Overall, I think it will be a better quality place for competitions. I think it’ll help us boost our confidence when hosting other teams,” he said. “I think that it can draw more attention to the sports that don’t get enough attention from fans.”
The arena will include maintenance, storage and machinery spaces, as well as concession stands, restrooms and other common spectator amenities, according to Board of Trustees meeting notes.
Another fencer, Andrew Kubisty, a second-year in business, said he thinks that the arena will have a positive impact and be able to connect student athletes from different sports programs.
“Having student athletes together is always nice. It’s always nice to see other athletes from other programs we have,” Kubisty said. “I think (the arena) is something that people here now and in the future can definitely benefit from.”
The Covelli Multi-Sport Arena is named after Sam Covelli, who donated $10 million toward this project, Penner said.
Penner said that the project is a step in the Athletic Framework Plan, which aims to bring the majority of university athletic facilities into the same quadrant.
“A combination of the success of our programs and the new facility may draw bigger crowds and allow athletes to shine on a bigger stage,” Penner said.