Ice rink opens early

— The City Council, the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Ice Rink Advisory Committee were greeted with skates and a new slab of ice for the First on the Ice night at Howelsen Ice Arena Friday.

Volunteers who helped get the ice arena open 11 days ahead of schedule were invited to take a first skate in the ice arena with a new refrigeration system.

Skating is open to the public today with a full set of rental skates figure skating and hockey. The ice arena is open for public skating from 1 to 4:30 p.m. today and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

"We wanted to get certain groups on the ice before Nov. 1, so we're a little ahead of schedule," said Stacey Foster, ice arena manager.

Youth hockey games begin next weekend.

Foster said construction crews and volunteers have been working frantically to get the ice arena open so groups can practice on ice.

"A lot of people have worked hard to get us to where we are," Foster said.

Foster said it takes about five to seven days to build a good sheet of ice. With a new refrigeration system, she said it made the process of building ice run more smoothly.

A new refrigeration system is just one completed part of the ice arena's step one phase three project.

Construction of bleachers with locker rooms below should finalize step one by December 2001 or January 2002.

Step two of the phase three project includes breaking ground in April 2002 for the Bump Out on the front of the building.

The front Bump Out will house offices and administration, the lobby, concession stands and a game room.

The second story of the front Bump Out will include a multi-purpose room looking out over the ice sheet, or ice rink, and new offices for the city's Parks and Recreation department. Step two should be complete by September or October 2002.

"This will let Parks and Rec spread out a little more. Phase three is the third and final in a 13-year project," Foster said.

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