MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Northern Michigan University’s Vandament Arena is getting a makeover; the board of trustees approved a 2.5 million dollars in renovations to accommodate both the volleyball and basketball programs, which will bring the seating capacity to 1,700 and modernize the arena.
Casey Thousand, the womens basketball coach at NMU, says “for volleyball it’s loud, and it echoes in there, I think it would be huge for basketball if we could get the same thing.”
the basketball program at northern currently shares the berry events center with the schools hockey team, something that isn’t ideal for either of them.
Matt Majkrzak, the men’s coach, says the biggest challenge his team faces is not being able to practice in the same spot where they play games. and practice isn’t the only thing the men’s coaches think is affected by the team playing games in a stadium not built for basketball
“in the last 20 years they haven’t made a ncaa tournament, etc, etc, and that coincides exactly with the berry.” says Majkrzak.
Transitioning from hockey to basketball is a difficult job, and recently finding labor to make the switch, which can take up to 5 hours, has been difficult.
According to coaches from both the men and women’s team, the new arena will increase fan support for the basketball program as well.
Renovations are scheduled, expected to take place over the next year and half.