March 28, 2007
CONSTRUCTION AND USE OF THE NEW HAVEN ATHLETIC CENTER
By: Zachary Schurin, Legislative Fellow
You asked several questions about the construction and use of the New Haven Athletic Center (NHAC), including:
1. When was the NHAC built?
2. How much did it cost to build the facility and how was construction financed?
3. How much revenue does the facility bring in and where does that revenue go?
4. What are the costs of operating the facility?
5. Are there similar facilities elsewhere in Connecticut?
6. Do the state's public universities allow their athletic facilities to be used for by outside groups for track meets, swim meets, and other events?
The NHAC, located at 480 Sherman Parkway in New Haven (adjacent to Hillhouse High-School), is a 94,000 square foot indoor sports complex. It features a 200 meter indoor track; four basketball courts; and tennis, volleyball, and fitness facilities. NHAC has a spectator seating capacity of up to 3,000, depending on the event.
Construction of the NHAC began in December 2000 and was completed in October 2002. The total cost of construction was approximately $25 million, according to Susan Weisellberg, school construction consultant for the City of New Haven Board of Education. The state covered about 78% of the total cost and the city, 22%. The state funds were allocated from a 1998 $68 million school construction grant for Hillhouse High School. These funds were financed through state general obligation bonds.
The NHAC was built to serve the physical education needs of all New Haven public schools, especially the city's seven high schools. The NHAC basketball courts are used for (1) games between the New Haven high schools and (2) games with non-city schools when a large crowd is expected. The NHAC also hosts large-scale sporting events, such as state wide basketball tournaments and track meets. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) frequently holds events at the NHAC for high school athletes. The CIAC Indoor Track Championship is one such event.
NHAC ANNUAL OPERATIONS
We requested, but have not yet received from the New Haven Board of Education, data on the revenue collected by the NHAC through usage fees, and how the board appropriates such revenue. We also requested data from the board on how much it costs to operate the facility but have not received it. We will revise this report to include this information when we receive it.
Information from CIAC provides a limited picture the facility's operation. CIAC paid $4,050 to rent the NHAC for its 2006 indoor track championship, according to CIAC executive director Michael Savage. The total cost of the event was $7,097.50. Ticket sales generated $7,420.00 for CIAC.
SIMILAR FACILITIES ELSEWHERE IN CONNECTICUT
It appears that the NHAC is the only public high school indoor sports complex of its size in Connecticut. The University of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University both have indoor track facilities, but they have limited spectator capacity.
These institutions allow community groups to use their athletic facilities when they are not being used for university purposes. Accordingly, university athletic facilities are frequently used for various sporting events sponsored by outside groups.
In order to use an athletic facility, an outside organization typically must submit a request form to facility administrators stating the proposed date, time, nature of the event, and anticipated attendance at the event. If use of a facility is granted, the organization holding the event must pay a usage fee, which covers the university's cost to prepare the facility and provide staff for the event.