University of Minnesota 3M Arena at Mariucci Facility Improvements

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Over 30 years after Mariucci Arena (now 3M Arena at Mariucci) opened at the University of Minnesota, Gopher fans and players alike remain captivated by the energized environment and best-seat-in-the house views from every angle. After a 2012 overhaul, the University once again embarked on upgrades designed to keep the elite status of its 10,00-seat facility, famed views, and “Pride on Ice” program.

JLG Architects worked with the University of Minnesota to lower and reduce their Olympic-size (100’x200’) ice sheet, a project that provided an opportunity for additional premium seating.

The 3M at Mariucci upgrades were part of a larger trend to reduce Olympic-size ice sheets to a hybrid size more closely resembling NHL rinks. JLG was challenged with finding a creative design solution that would reduce the ice sheet but prevent fixed spectator seating from being positioned too far from the boards. JLG, build partner M.A. Mortenson, and the University met the challenge by lowering the rink surface a few feet to create a customized, premium seating experience at ice level. Those extra seats necessitated updates in life safety and egress calculations, and the Arena’s existing structure had to be altered to allow the reconfigured seating to be properly fitted.

Debuting in the 2023-24 season, the capacity of 3M Arena at Mariucci increased by 200+ seats. The project included upgrading the ice refrigeration equipment at both 3M Arena at Mariucci and the adjacent Ridder Arena to utilize energy-efficient refrigeration, improved safety features for fans, and a new ice plant location within the building.

The work allows the Ridder ice plant room to be gutted and converted for other building use. The ice plant replacement will remove ozone-depleting R-22 refrigerant and utilize new cooling technology with nearly zero global warming potential.

Completion Date


"Years of talk about shrinking the massive ice sheet inside 3M Arena at Mariucci became official University of Minnesota policy at a June meeting of the school’s board of regents, which approved $14 million for a plan which will upgrade the ice plant that is used for the arena and for adjoining Ridder Arena."
– The Rink Live