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posted: 6/5/2013 5:00 AM

Proposed DePaul arena not justified

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If I were a donor to DePaul, I would have to question further donations to a private, Catholic university that has $70 million to throw at a multiuse arena that would also house the school's men's and women's basketball programs.

For the school's contribution, it would be allowed to use the arena for basketball games and other assorted uses that may fill 40 dates, at the maximum.

I would further question this dubious commitment of the school's funds when a privately owned enterprise, the United Center, was offered to the university rent free for an extended period of years.

The justification used by DePaul's president, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, to fund this arena was the United Center couldn't offer the practice time needed by the basketball programs. It was further opined by DePaul athletic staff that a new arena in Chicago would help with recruitment of top-flight prospects and make it easier for the student body to attend games.

How does a 10,000 to 12,000 capacity arena adjoining the black monolith on the lake, McCormick Place, compare in star power to the 22,000 seat sports place on Madison Street that has a statue of the greatest NBA player at its entrance and six NBA championship banners hanging from the rafters?

The argument that the DePaul student body would benefit by an arena at 31st Street and Lake Shore Drive does not hold up to scrutiny. The United Center is closer to the DePaul Lincoln Park campus and more convenient to access than the meandering route necessary to get to McCormick Place.

If DePaul has garnered support from their donors for this $70 million boondoggle then let the "games" begin. If it has not solicited that support, I wonder what the donor base would have to say about this expenditure.

Steve Sarich


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