The College has reached the final stages of a contracting with at least one architectural firm for the creation of a new hockey arena.

The new arena will be built near Farley Field House at an estimated budget of $15 million.

"This figure is based on some very general presumptions," said Vice President for Planning and Institutional Advancement Scott Meiklejohn. "All of the details will have to be worked out with the architect."

Before starting construction, the Development Office plans to have 65 to 70 percent of the project pledged. Funds for the construction will be raised by a committee chaired by Capital Gifts Officer Betsy Bowen. The committee will appeal to alumnae, parents, organizations, and old Bowdoin hockey players for gifts and pledges, said Meiklejohn.

Plans have been three years in the making. When the Development Office first started investigating possible firms to handle the design of the new rink nine architects were considered. Four of these firms were selected for interviews, and the final decision will be released to the college community next week.

"Having the word get out [about the decision] before the deal is done takes away all of our negotiating room about exactly what services they will provide and for how much of a fee," said Meiklejohn.

The reasons for selecting the site for the arena were two-fold. By constructing the arena next to the school's fields, squash courts, and field house, all of the major athletic centers on campus will be in one central location, creating a sense of unity. Furthermore, parking near the field house is more readily available than near the current hockey arena.

Although Dayton hockey arena is still functional, Meiklejohn said that in building a new hockey arena, there will be more options for groups other than the varsity teams to make it onto the ice.

"If we ever wanted to add a second sheet of ice so that they wouldn't have to stagger practice times for the men's and women's teams or so that there would be more time for pee-wee teams and intramurals, this site would provide that option," said Meiklejohn.

Although many members of the Bowdoin community are looking forward to the new arena, Meiklejohn worries about the loss of the Dayton hockey arena.

"A lot of people connected with Bowdoin really like the feel of Dayton," said Meiklejohn. "There's a feel of Dayton, a special character that we'd like to replicate in the new rink."

Once the new arena is complete, Dayton will be taken down and the site will be put to alternate uses, said Meiklejohn.

In the short term, the Dayton site will provide over-flow parking for the performances held at the soon-to-be converted Curtis Pool Building turned concert hall. Eventually, the site will house a new academic building.

"There are very few places in the core of campus where you can put new academic buildings without doing major damage to the current feel of campus," said Meiklejohn. "If we remove Dayton, that would be the ideal space for the last academic building in the center of campus."

The Development Office hopes to start working with the architects right away and have a conceptual design for the arena by Spring 2005. At the soonest, construction will begin in the 2006-2007 academic year.