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New Arena, New Roos?

An In-Depth Update on UMKC’s New Development Plan
Julia Kapros
UMKC is in the process of introducing a new facility for the Athletic’s Department.

  UMKC is in the early stages of hosting one of the largest projects in Volker campus history with the Oak Street Development project, which includes the school’s very own arena.

  On May 15, the university released a Request For Proposals (RFP) that introduced the plan to add more amenities for students and staff. The RFP mentions explicitly a large plot of land totaling about 5.3 acres that starts near Johnson Hall and stretches to 51st Street. The potential construction site holds the Colonial Shops, consisting of Kin Lin, Crows Coffee and Pride Cleaners. Pizza 51 would currently be excluded from construction as it is privately owned.

  While the arena will be on campus grounds, UMKC will not hold any rights to the building. Instead, ownership belongs to the development team that is awarded the proposal bid. The university will use the area for six months strictly for athletics purposes. The group would be solely responsible for hosting events between March and September. 

  Potential events that could arrive on campus include expos, concerts and major sporting events.

  The arena will be the home of the Kansas City Roos men’s and women’s basketball, plus volleyball teams. The athletics department believes that the small stadium would help the program tremendously. 

  In the RFP, it states “A new arena with expanded seating capacity and more training space will help to increase KC Athletics’ standings amongst competitors and recruits as well as providing a venue for additional events on campus.”

  The athletics department also provided a list of other necessities, including two practice courts, a 7,000 square-foot strength and conditioning facility, three locker rooms, multiple concession stands and a 6,000 SF “Hospitality space/Flex area.”

  Seating hasn’t been set, with the “Estimated Needs” mentioning that it should be from 4,000 to 5,000 seats. 

  All athletes would train, practice or study on Oak Street once the arena opens. The Swinney Recreation Center will serve as a large gym, with students, staff and locals alike able to purchase a membership. 

  Finances for the project will fall on the team that develops the plan, not on UMKC. The university can only help the group with local government funds, but nothing else. However, the expectation is that the campus will profit from anything built behind 51st Street. 

  There is no timetable for when the project will be completed. Development teams had to submit their concepts on July 21, and they had the opportunity to ask the university questions about the proposal. 

  Planning committees involved had the chance to use student, staff and neighborhood input via a town hall hosted by UMKC on June 27. People around campus could attend two listening sessions that showcased what may be built.

  UMKC’s Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Sean Reeder described the development as a possible new “gateway to the campus,” Reeder said. 

  After interviews with the teams that occurred on Aug. 7, the University of Missouri Board of Curators will vote on who will go forward with the plan. A final decision is expected by the end of the year. 

  Roo News will stay updated on this advancing story.

  [email protected]

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Cristian Martinez, Sports Editor
Julia Kapros, Photography Editor/Social Media Manager
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