Raising the rink | SkyHiNews.com

Raising the rink

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi News
Fraser, CO Colorado

The Fraser Valley skyline has changed in recent months as the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District’s newest capital project takes shape. At the site of the ballfields between Tabernash and Fraser, a partially enclosed, NHL-regulation-size ice rink is more than halfway complete.

Similar to rinks in Telluride and Glenwood Springs, the Fraser Valley rink is enclosed on only two sides, protecting the ice from prevailing winds and sun while leaving the rink open to the vistas of the Continental Divide. The ice rink will host youth and adult hockey leagues, hockey and figure skating lessons and open skating sessions for the public.

Using remaining funds from the 2007, voter-approved, Community Enhancement Project bond, the sports complex enhancement project has grown from $1.2 million to $2.2 million in recent months with the addition of several new grants, private donations and reserve funds plus savings from other components of the community enhancement project.

Since the project broke ground July 5, walls have been built for a roughly 3,000-square-foot sports complex support building – housing a warming hut, locker rooms, skate rentals, office space and restrooms – and the steel ice rink cover has been raised. Options such as additional locker rooms, separate Zamboni storage, and heat and chiller tubes have been added to the scope of work, and construction has begun on these change orders.

The heat and chiller tubing, considered critical to improving the quality of the ice and extending the season, was funded by a $182,413 Sprout Fund grant. Although the Grand Foundation just awarded the grant last week, the rec district board in August approved spending $258,000 out of its reserves to move the project forward. $100,000 of that came from Conservation Trust Funds (part of the state’s lottery fund). The remainder came from general fund reserves.

The ice rink project was arriving at a critical point when the decision to install the tubing had to be made, said Parks and Recreation Director Scott Ledin. The heat tubing has to be laid out before the concrete is poured, and with bad weather just around the corner, a decision had to be made, he said. (Chiller tubing goes into the concrete slab.)

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With the Sprout funds supporting the cost of the tubing, the district was able to use the reserve money to build the Zamboni garage and add additional locker rooms it had on its wish list.

The only remaining items on the wish list include refrigeration equipment, which runs the heat and chiller tubing and ranges in price from $100,000-$300,000; and three-phase electrical power, necessary to run the refrigeration equipment, which will likely be installed by Mountain Parks Electric some time next year at a cost to the district of $85,000.

Ice hockey enthusiasts donated their time last weekend to uncoil and spread the heat tubing, saving a huge amount of labor cost. Volunteers will also help prepare the chiller tubing and install the new dasher boards for a total savings of $84,000, Ledin said.

Dave Dresen has been coordinating the volunteer effort.

“It’s giving these guys a real sense of ownership in the facility,” Ledin added.

The concrete slab is scheduled to be poured before Oct. 15.

The newly formed nonprofit Fraser Valley Hockey Association has applied for a $9,000 grant from the Town of Winter Park to purchase goal-keeping equipment and efforts are under way to find donors for a scoreboard and some of the other incidental items that weren’t part of the original budget. Along those lines, Winter Park Pub will be hosting a fundraiser Oct. 9 to help purchase equipment for the rink.

Although the additional work will push construction into December, rental skates have already been ordered and the rink is expected to be ready to open the week before Thanksgiving.

– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or rarmstrong@skyhidailynews.com.

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