Though it’s not the biggest or most historic athletic facility on Cornell’s campus, Lynah Rink and the men’s and women’s hockey programs it houses still pack a tremendous amount of tradition and affection.
Cornell’s most raucous arena is slated for some substantial renovations in the near future, improvements that will raise the functionality and aesthetics of the venerable rink while leaving the building’s legendary charm untouched, according to athletic department officials.
“This is one of the last remaining athletic facilities [on Cornell’s campus] that hasn’t been touched since it was built,” said men’s hockey coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Some other facilities are on their second renovation, it’s about time that this rink is going to have [improvements].”
The plans, which provide for new office, locker room and athletic training facilities for both the men’s and women’s teams, are quickly developing after a series of meetings this week.
“We’re extremely excited about the impact of the refurbishments of portions of Lynah Rink,” said athletic director Andy Noel. “It’s the kind of things that will enhance working environments.”
While plans are still preliminary, officials envision building brand new team facilities on either the south or south-west side of the ice surface. The new facilities will place the coaches’ offices in much closer proximity to the locker rooms than in the current set up.
“There’s no question, it’s more functional to have the office near the locker room and near the rink, it makes it a lot easier to do the day-to-day work,” Schafer said.
The firm supervising this project, Rosetti Architects of Birmingham, Mich., has been tremendously helpful to Cornell officials in planning various alternatives for this project, according to Schafer.
“The architect has been phenomenal as far as working with us and giving some of us ideas,” he said. “For maybe 50 schools in the country [that sponsor hockey], we’re probably in the bottom seven or eight facilities as far as locker room, training room, facilities are concerned. We’re probably the top as far as a game night atmosphere is concerned, but when a kid makes decisions, it’s the same thing with any other athlete or student on campus, we want them to enjoy first-class facilities. Our kids do suffer — not a whole lot — but they do suffer from that aspect.”
While no decisions have been made yet regarding the final design of the rink’s improvements, several factors are receiving a lot of attention from department officials.
“There’s going to be a modern lobby, a wide concourse, so that when somebody walks into a game, they’ll be able to walk up and down the isles much easier,” Schafer said.
“We’re hoping to expand locker room facilities for intramurals, the club team and some community use,” Noel said.
One thing that this phase of renovations will not include is expanded seating capacity. However, no version of the plans places the new team facilities in their current location, at the west end of the rink, as to not rule out potential expansion in the future.
“We’re always looking at ways to reduce the cost, to see what’s most effective cost-wise,” Schafer said.
“Is there an ideal location [for the new team facilities]? I don’t know, but we want to get a functional facility, whether it’s here or around the [south] side of the building.”
Department officials have already secured a $3 million lead commitment for this project, and expect to have more concrete plans in place within the next couple of months.
Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor