Here's why UCR won't have a sports arena anytime soon

Nobody is more interested in improving the UC Riverside campus than Chancellor Kim Wilcox. But even he now is saying that a sports arena for the school is pretty much off the table for the foreseeable future.

Wilcox was at the Citizens University Committee meeting Wednesday morning, giving his annual state of the campus address. The subject of an arena was raised during a question-and-answer session. Wilcox said the on-again, off-again project is off again for now.

“There’s no ready (funding) source for classrooms, offices and this kind of thing,” he said. “It will be a while.”

For more than a decade, there has been talk of building an events arena connected with the school. Past plans looked at building a complex at Iowa Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard or at the existing Bannockburn Village on Canyon Crest Drive. The latter of these two plans had some momentum when Wilcox took over as chancellor in 2013.

Almost as quickly as he arrived, he put the brakes on the project.

He told the Citizens University Committee crowd that the arena was one of the first things that troubled him in assessing the campus plans before he even left his previous job at Michigan State University.

“I was sitting in my living room in East Lansing, Michigan,” he said. “I got to this part about a C-Center and I said to my wife, Diane, ‘We’ve got a problem. Financially this doesn’t work.’ ”

But it wasn’t long before Wilcox was promoting the idea of an events center,…

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