FAIRBANKS — University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Dan White has proposed moving Nanooks hockey from the Carlson Center to the Patty Center on campus to save money amid sweeping budget cuts coming from the governor’s office.
This suggested move is part of a larger list of possible cost-saving measures White released Wednesday in an attempt to mitigate Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed $134 million cut in state funding for the university system.
UAF pays about $250,000 a year to lease the Carlson Center space for hockey. While the shift from the Carlson Center to the Patty Center could save the university hundreds of thousands of dollars, the move presents its own set of possible difficulties.
The Carlson Center seats just under 4,600 people during hockey games; whereas the Patty Center, in its current form, only seats approximately 1,200 people. White noted in his statement that the Patty Center would require renovation in order to accommodate this shift if it moves forward.
Nanook Hockey has been playing at the Carlson Center since the facility was built in the early ’90s. The hockey team currently has their own specialized locker room at the facility.
Nanooks hockey head coach Erik Largen said he was not prepared to provide comments on the possible venue change until budget discussions are a little further along.
Hockey is one of UAF’s only three Division I sports; the others are men’s and women’s skiing and co-ed rifle.
White also suggested closing two additional residence halls on lower campus near the Lola Tilly building.
This is not the first time residence halls with low resident numbers have been targeted during budget cuts. UAF closed Stevens Hall on lower campus in 2017 following an $8 million cut from former Gov. Bill Walker.
Other proposals include moving Administrative Services from an off-campus building on College Road, closing unused family housing units on campus, discontinuing all ATCO unit use on campus and shifting operations into already existing buildings and others.
Of the extensive list of possible shifts, the closing of two additional residence halls is the only measure that is moving forward at the moment, according to UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes. Students in Lathrop and Nerland residence halls have been notified of the likely closing.
Grimes noted that all other suggestions are still in early phases of discussions.
The UA Board of Regents is set to meet again April 8 to discuss with UA President Jim Johnsen how to move forward with the anticipated cuts.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMPolitics.