Work to Begin This Spring on St. Lawrence University’s Appleton Arena

CANTON, New York — With additional gifts and the selection of a construction management firm, renovations to St. Lawrence University’s NCAA Division I hockey arena are on track to begin this spring. Construction will start following the conclusion of the 2018-19 hockey season.

A little more than one year ago, St. Lawrence embarked on a comprehensive study of Appleton Arena to enhance the appeal of the facility for both athletes and the fans. It selected HOK, a premier architectural firm for designing sports venues, to conduct the study. HOK delivered its findings to the University’s Steering, Planning, and Oversight Committee as well as its Campus User Group in the fall.

Two major financial commitments secured last summer as part of The Campaign for Every Laurentian put the project in motion: a $10 million gift from alumnus Tom Dolan ’74 and the Dolan Family Foundation, and a $1.5 million gift from the Torrey and MacAllaster families in memory of William A. (Bill) Torrey Sr. ’57. Since then, St. Lawrence has secured additional major gifts, raising close to $17 million to date for the completely donor-funded Appleton renovation project.

Originally opened in 1951, Appleton Arena is regarded as one of the University’s significant heritage facilities. While preserving the charm of the iconic wood seating and the vaulted roof is a top priority, improvements will include a new entrance, widening concourses, expanding concessions, additional social spaces including the Legends of Appleton Room, and improving both broadcast and live streaming technologies. It will also include a Strength and Conditioning Center named in memory of Dolan’s friend and classmate Michael “Buddy” Cornacchia ’74, who died in 2014.

“The character of Appleton Arena has aged over the years like a finely crafted historical home. In the NCAA Division I ice hockey world, it shares the comparable essence of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. And like those beloved landmarks, renewed in every generation, it needs a timely upgrade,” said St. Lawrence University President William L. Fox. “As one of St. Lawrence’s venerable and distinctive structures, Appleton is the ‘rink of dreams’ for North Country youth and the ‘forever home’ of St. Lawrence hockey. And that’s why this project, envisioned by generous Laurentian families, is so important to our University’s sense of pride and tradition.”

For student-athletes, the renovations will provide St. Lawrence’s NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey programs with a superior athletic facility by the start of the 2019-20 season. A second phase of the project will also expand Appleton to support the Saints’ NCAA Division III men and women’s lacrosse, field hockey, softball and the men and women’s rowing teams. That portion of the renovation will begin as additional fundraising is completed.

Northland Associates, of Liverpool, New York, has been selected as the construction manager for the project. Northland has worked on a number of campus projects over the years, including the Johnson Hall of Science, Kirk Douglas Hall, Peterson-Kermani Performance Hall, and Sullivan Student Center.

The Appleton Arena project is supported by The Campaign for Every Laurentian, the largest comprehensive fundraising initiative in the more than 160-year history of St. Lawrence University. With a fundraising goal of $225 million, the Campaign will support four priorities: Endowing Our Future, Learning for the 21st Century, the Power of Connections, and Campus Stewardship as well as continued support for the St. Lawrence Fund. The Campaign will expand the student experience, broaden Laurentian engagement, strengthen and build St. Lawrence’s reputation, involve the entire campus community, and ensure the University’s financial security.

About St. Lawrence University

Founded in 1856, St. Lawrence University is a private, independent liberal arts institution of about 2,500 students located in Canton, New York. The educational opportunities at St. Lawrence inspire students and prepare them to be critical and creative thinkers, to find a compass for their lives and careers, and to pursue knowledge and understanding for the benefit of themselves, humanity and the planet. Through its focus on active engagement with ideas in and beyond the classroom, a St. Lawrence education leads students to make connections that transform lives and communities, from the local to the global. Visit

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