New ice sheet in Farmington coming closer to reality

‘Worst case’ cost is $5.2 millionfm-ice-rink-1-11

The vision of a second sheet of ice in Farmington is starting to come into focus.

Ice for Tigers, a group formed to build another sheet of ice through a partnership with the city, school district, Farmington Youth Hockey Association and community, said it has a design and has begun fundraising efforts.

The blueprint for a second sheet of ice at Schmitz-Maki Arena at 114 W. Spruce St. has been updated. Cost of the project is estimated at $5.2 million, according to Ice for Tigers spokesman Rob Juncker.

“We focused on a balance between cost and a high-quality building to have something we can be proud of,” Juncker said.

The $5.2 million estimate is “worst case,” Juncker said.

“That’s with everything,” he said. “We actually took quotes down for emergency lighting and mats for ice skates. We have it down to how many screws, nuts and bolts.”

The blueprints call for a second 200-by-85-foot sheet of ice attached to Schmitz-Maki Arena with an additional 300 seats, centralized community room, several new locker rooms, dryland training area, energy-efficient reclamation systems and overall facility improvements.

“There’s opportunity to save a lot more,” Juncker said. “We built in a decent contingency.”

The goal is to open the new rink in 2013.

“We’re hoping to start between March to May,” Juncker said. “The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets. We’re still on that aggressive goal, but at the same time we have a lot of momentum.”

Now that it has a defined price, Ice for Tigers has launched a fundraising effort to raise $1.5 million with corporate and personal sponsors, which include “Buy-a-Brick” and naming/branding

For $250, founders will receive two engraved pucks, one to keep and another to be displayed on the founders’ wall in the new arena.

Corporate opportunities include naming rights for locker rooms and other locations as well as signage and display advertising.

Ice for Tigers will ask the city and school district to contribute to the project, but Juncker said the group wants to reduce the amount of public money required.

“The second-sheet of ice was always in the city’s 30-year strategic plan,” Juncker said. “We’re just trying to move the time frame up and lower the cost tremendously and lessen the burden of the taxpayer.”

Schmitz-Maki Arena was built in the 1970s, and the population of Farmington has increased substantially since then. Ice time has been difficult to come by with several families and organizations traveling as far as Faribault and South St. Paul to find a place to skate.

The next phase for Ice for Tigers is defining revenue and facility use.

“We want to prove that this is a profitable entity,” Juncker said. “We want to show who is going to use it when and how much it’s going to cost.”

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