Nov. 17, 2010
| What They're Saying About La Bahn Arena
"Wisconsin Women's Hockey represents the absolute best in college athletics from the extraordinary head coach to the exceptional student-athletes. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to this special facility that will help continue to attract the best women's hockey players and brightest students to UW-Madison."
Leon ('64) and Betsy Janssen
"The University of Wisconsin and its hockey program changed my life. It provided my development as a human being beyond description. The University and its hockey programs are first class and will have championship sustainability with this facility. My hope is that all current and future student-athletes have as incredible an experience at the UW as I did. Giving back was a simple decision as they did so much for me at a time when I needed a family away from home and every one at the UW helped provide that nucleus!"
Mark Strobel ('95)
Former men's hockey student-athlete
"It's nice to know that our program has a lot of support from both the community and the university and that people are willing to contribute toward building a rink for us.
"I think the new facility will really benefit our team because we won't have to worry about transferring back and forth between the Shell and the Kohl Center anymore. We'll have our own space because right now we share the Kohl Center with the basketball and men's hockey teams."
Current women's hockey student-athlete
"My enthusiasm for hockey began when I was 3 weeks old and I "watched" my dad play with his three brothers for the Fond du Lac Bears. I have been a loyal fan, follower and season ticket holder for UW hockey since I came here for school in 1972, and was especially excited when the women's hockey program was started up. As soon as I first heard about the possibility of the new women's rink/facilities I was immediately interested in helping get this incredible project up and running, so when I had a chance to contribute, I was very proud to do so. I lost my dad this past spring and my gift will be in his memory, which means the world to me as it did to him."
“As an alum, I am honored to be able to give back to the program that has given so much to me.”
Former men’s hockey student-athlete
Lake Forest, Ill.
“I think we are very fortunate to have people step up and contribute to our programs and I thank them for it. One of the biggest reasons for this new facility is that we currently have to practice quite a way from the Kohl Center. Also, we currently have two locker rooms and hauling our gear around all the time takes time that could be put to better use. This new facility will make things more efficient and we are looking forward to having it. The same goes for the women’s hockey team, which has to go over to the Shell. It is going to be really convenient to get everyone in one location. It will be easier for everyone and their schedules.”
Current men’s hockey student-athlete
“The new rink will be the final jewel in the crown we have here as a hockey program. We won’t have to worry about our student-athletes leaving campus with their mopeds and their cars, especially in the winter. The fact that we’ll have this facility on campus and the kids are right there, it will be one-stop shopping. Our Fetzer Center is there for academics, our weight training is there, we have training table there. We’ll have everything under one roof, which will be the final jewel in the crown.
“There are so many people to thank. We’ve had alumni, business people and general fans step up and want to be a part of the program because Badger hockey has been a big part of their lives in some form or fashion. They’ve been so gracious and generous in stepping up and helping out financially in a way that has made it possible for us to actually come closer to putting a shovel in the ground.”
UW men’s hockey coach
“It’s a fantastic day for our swimming programs. Having the access to the kinds of facilities we’ll have in this new building will help our programs immeasurably. There are many people to thank: donors, alumni, former student-athletes. I have to give a special mention to the lead donor on this project. Chuck La Bahn, a former Badger swimmer, and his wife, Mary Ann, has, with his generosity and love for Wisconsin, allowed this project to move forward and, in the process, has given Badger swimmers a gift they will benefit from for years to come.”
UW men’s and women’s swimming coach
“Everyone in our women’s hockey program is very excited about the new facility. Our team will now have a place to call home and everything we need will be right at our fingertips – locker room, training room, weight room, academic center and, of course, the rink itself. I want to thank the former players, alumni and donors for their generosity. It’s a great day for our men’s and women’s programs and it’s a great day for hockey!”
UW women’s hockey coach
• La Bahn Arena Renderings
MADISON, Wis. -- La Bahn Arena is officially a "go."
The Wisconsin State Building Commission on Wednesday gave final approval to a multi-level, hockey and swimming competition and training facility to be constructed adjacent to the Kohl Center on the UW-Madison campus. La Bahn Arena will be named after Charles (UW-Madison '49) and Mary Ann La Bahn, the lead donors for the project.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring, with the facility set to open in the fall of 2012.
"Mary Ann and I are delighted to participate in the funding for this excellent facility for men's and women's hockey and men's and women's swimming," Charles La Bahn said. "The concept is sound and generations of student-athletes will benefit from the comprehensive design and availability of the structure. (UW Director of Athletics) Barry Alvarez and his associates are to be commended for their foresight in planning this much needed facility."
La Bahn Arena will be a tri-level complex that will include the following:
• 90' by 200' ice sheet for men's and women's hockey practice and women's competition, with seating for approximately 2,400 spectators
• Men's and women's hockey team locker rooms and a visiting team locker room
• Women's hockey office suite and associated support spaces
• Locker and team room functions for the men's and women's swimming programs
• A connecting skywalk to the Southeast Recreation Facility (SERF)
• Minor renovation within SERF to accommodate circulation between the pool and the swimming teams' new locker suites
• Underground connection to the Kohl Center
• Relocation of the men's basketball locker suite to space vacated by the men's hockey locker suite, expansion of training room facilities, and expansion of laundry/equipment-issue facilities to accommodate the additional occupants of the complex
"I am thrilled that our new hockey and swimming facility, to be known as La Bahn Arena, has received final approval," Alvarez said. "It's an exciting day for our entire department. I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone whose generosity made this possible - donors, former student-athletes, alumni and fans.
"A special thank you goes to Chuck and Mary Ann La Bahn, who made the lead gift. Their generosity will benefit thousands of student-athletes. The new facility will provide a terrific competition site for our women's hockey program and will also greatly benefit our men's hockey program and swimming programs. In addition, it will ease the scheduling strain on the Kohl Center. This is another step in our continuing effort to fulfill our facilities master plan and to remain competitive with modern facilities."
Key in the creation of the facility will be bringing the Badger hockey and swimming teams to a centralized campus location for practice, competition and student services such as academics and sports medicine.
Currently the Wisconsin women's hockey program plays its home games at the Kohl Center, but the team's practice facility and locker rooms are at the Shell next to Camp Randall Stadium.
The men's hockey team currently practices at the Bob Johnson Hockey Facility adjacent to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, but has its locker room at the Kohl Center where it plays its home
games. The UW swimming and diving teams presently practice and compete in the Natatorium on campus. The new La Bahn Arena will provide these student-athletes with a new, state-of-the-art facility centrally located on campus and near other athletic department facilities.
Chuck La Bahn, a two-time letterwinner for the Badger swimming team, has been a longtime supporter of various campus initiatives. He has helped to fund projects in Athletics, the School of Business, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the School of Education and the Law School.
La Bahn, who served as director of the UW Foundation from 1974-96 and as chairman of the Wisconsin Alumni Association in 1988-89, won the 1988 Pat O'Dea Award for service to UW Athletics. He is also a winner of the University of Wisconsin Alumni Club of Milwaukee's Distinguished Service Award.
The total cost of the project will be $27.9 million, with two-thirds of that coming from gifts to UW Athletics and the remainder coming from bonding.