ST. CLOUD - St. Cloud State University is beginning a $30 million renovation of the aging National Hockey Center.

The facility that opened in December of 1989 is the home of the Husky's Division I men's and women's hockey programs.  President Earl Potter says the timing of the remodel is appropriate as the men's program prepares to leave the WCHA and move to the new conference.

During a groundbreaking ceremony at center ice today (Friday), President Earl Potter recognized the Husky hockey fans.

Seating capacity will be increased from 6,600 to over 8,000.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in time for the next hockey season.  It includes a new south entrance, including a four-story atrium along Herb Brooks Way.  Features include: a new ticket office, team store, and 14 suites.

Besides continuing to be the home of SCSU's men's and women's hockey teams, officials say the remodeled facility will become the premiere entertainment venue between the Twin Cities and Fargo, with the capability to host concerts, trade shows, and other large events.