MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Northern Michigan University’s Basketball program is getting a new home. Starting in the Fall of 2024, both NMU Men’s and Women’s Basketball will join women’s volleyball to compete in Vandament Arena. According to NMU spokesperson Derek Hall, the new venue will improve the experience for spectators and players alike.
“Next November, we’ll start a remodel of this facility,” said Hall. “We’re going to bring basketball into this facility to join volleyball. It’s going to be an upgrade for both sports and it will make a great experience for our spectators.”
The Berry Events Center, which will continue to host NMU Hockey games proved to be a less-than-ideal space for basketball and requires a time-consuming process to transition from the ice sheet of hockey to the hardwood floor of basketball.
“Currently, our basketball teams both men and women play in the Berry Events Center,” said Hall. “That’s an ice sheet and so every time there’s a basketball game, we have staff in here, putting down an insulation barrier and then putting down on the wood floor and it’s a hockey arena. It’s not a basketball arena. It was never built for basketball. It’s a tough situation. It’s tough for the players. It’s tough for the crowd, you have dasher boards. So, we’re looking forward to moving basketball out of the Berry Events Center.”
The re-fit of Vandament Arena will include new bleacher seating as well as a new configuration, and per Hall, will be a much more intimate environment for basketball.
“The spectators will be closer to the game,” Hall explained. “The players will feel that energy and we’re looking forward to some really exciting times here in the Vandament.”
The 2.5-million-dollar renovation to Vandament Arena will include upgraded U-shaped seating, with an expected capacity of 1,700. The new basketball/volleyball facility will also be more attractive to host regional high school tournaments, and thus aid in the recruitment of local high school athletes.