Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Steamboat Springs A building permit has been issued for the final stage of Howelsen Ice Arena's $3 million improvement project.
Last week, Routt County approved a building permit for the $542,000 lobby that is being added to the ice arena on Howelsen Parkway. It marks the near end of the ice arena's third phase of improvement projects, which included a new refrigeration system, new locker rooms, heated bleachers and dasher boarders.
The lobby's foundation and slab were laid in the fall and the rustic log entrance to the lobby is already in place. But ice rink manager Stacey Foster said doors and windows still need to go up, along with siding on the outside of the building. The inside is still waiting for drywall and paint.
Foster is aiming to hold the grand opening of the lobby area the first week in April. The lobby will have a front desk for admissions and skate rentals, as well as offices, a room to sharpen skates and an open space area.
The current administrative offices, admissions area and skate rentals have moved into the back corner of the rink, which used to be a storage area. This school year, the offices were moved out of a modular connected to the ice rink so the city's youth programs could relocate there after Emerald City closed.
"The staff has worked out of such crazy areas the last couple of years, a formal lobby and admissions area will be a lot better," Foster said.
Foster admits the front log entrance might seem massive now, but she said it will look proportional once the remaining first floor and additional second floor are added. The entrance will also improve the boxy ice rink.
"The rink looked like a big barn. (The entrance) breaks up the rink. It puts something in the front that is a little less intrusive," Foster said.
Finishing the first floor and adding on a second story will be the fourth and final phase of the ice arena. Foster does not know when the fourth phase will begin but said the Ice Rink Advisory Committee is raising funds.
"That is the big decision for the Ice Rink Advisory Committee: how to move forward with the next project," Foster said.
The second half of the first floor is planned for a concession area, game room and a fifth locker room. The second story will be a multipurpose room that looks out onto the ice for meetings or parties. There could also be six offices. It is expected to cost $500,000.
The project started in 1991 with phase one, the building of an outdoor ice rink, which was followed by enclosing the rink during the second phase in 1996.
The third phase began in 2001 and cost $3 million. More than $600,000 in donations were given for the third phase and the city covered the rest, Foster said.
With ice time booked solid until March and hockey tournaments, summer hockey clinics and ice skating camps planned for the future, Foster said use will grow with the arena.
"The usage continues to jump, which fuels the expansion," she said.