The ACT could be left without an arena fit for major sporting and entertainment events for up to four years if the federal government keeps the doors locked at the AIS Arena.
The venue would become home to the Canberra Capitals and be fit to host WNBL finals, Super Netball matches and concerts.
University of Canberra vice-chancellor Paddy Nixon says the city needs a suitable indoor facility "in the next three to four years", but the proposed arena hinges on a funding injection.
An ACT government spokeswoman said the federal government has no plans to reopen the AIS Arena, understanding the closure "remains indefinite".
"We have to be able to do it in the next three to four years. I don't think we can last beyond that," Nixon said about building an indoor venue at the university.
"I would love to start tomorrow. The timeframe actually is a little bit dependent on the funding proposition.
"We've got to work out how we can co-fund this to deliver this for the ACT. We can start building as soon as we get the money.
"The location has been identified in the master plan. It's a perfect location because it's free at the moment, so we could start tomorrow if we raised the funds."
The Capitals were blindsided by the AIS Arena's closure last year. The club has split their games in recent years between the National Convention Centre and AIS Arena, with the latter hosting grand final and semi-final blockbusters.
Club bosses are waiting for a draft fixture from WNBL head office before they can begin locking in dates with the National Convention Centre for the 2021-22 season.
But the club is set to contend with other events, meaning there may be times the Capitals have to resort to using an alternate venue which some fear could be a step backwards.
"It's going to be a challenge," University of Canberra director of sport Carrie Graf said.
"Obviously the Arena is still not open and we're going to be massaging a schedule, how many games can we fit at the Convention Centre?
"At this stage we have no finals venue. It's going to be an ongoing challenge for us for the next few years, for the Capitals, where do we play? To [host] 5000 people at a championship game, there isn't anywhere in Canberra to do that.
"For the next few years, that's going to be an ongoing challenge for the organisation and for women's sport.
"We don't have a venue in Canberra for high performance sporting events, whether that's basketball, netball, or anything international, there's just not a venue in Canberra to hold those."
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