STORRS, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees agreed Wednesday to spend $10 million to repair the deteriorating roof and ceiling of the school's Gampel Pavilion basketball arena.
The 10,000-seat dome, which opened in 1990 at a cost of $28 million, has an unusual roof, made up of metal triangular insulated panels wrapped in fabric.
The fabric inside the arena has been fraying and flaking off for several years.
Laura Cruickshank, the school's chief architect and master planner, said the roof has been leaking, leaving the school with few options.
"I actually saw a leak during a basketball game," she said. "It's only going to get worse if we don't fix it."
Because of the unusual design, the school spent months studying how best to accomplish the repairs. Cruickshank said the panels will need to be removed one at a time, lowered to the floor and rewrapped.
The work is scheduled to begin in May after commencement ceremonies and finish in October, before the start of the 2016-17 basketball season.
"If we run into problems, we will end up taking measures in terms of double-shifting or whatever we have to do to get it done," she said. "Because this is not one we can be late on."
The money will come from the state's $1 billion UConn 2000 bonding project for campus improvements.
Cruickshank said she expects the new roof to last another 10 to 15 years, at which point the school must again decide whether to do more repairs or replace the arena.
"It would cost well over $60 million to (replace the arena) now," she said. "And if you did it now, you would probably make it more of a multipurpose facility than it was originally designed for."
The university also has plans to renovate its hockey arena and replace its soccer, baseball and softball facilities. It hopes to raise private dollars to fund a good portion of those projects.