Bemidji Community Arena Breaks Ground On 2nd Rink
The Bemidji Community Arena has seen putting hockey players on the ice for nearly two decades now. Today, construction started on a 2nd rink expansion that officials say was a long time coming. The Bemidji Community became a reality in the year 2000. What some may not know is that the 2nd rink was a part of the plan from nearly the beginning.
“The arena which we’re standing in now is an original product starting in 1999 and was designed to have the 2nd arena that we are currently starting with today,” says Dale Thompson, the president of the Bemidji Community Arena Corporation.
“This particular project was a dream when we started it 18 years ago or so,” says Mike Johnston, the architect for the project.
You could say a 2nd rink was desperately needed. Before, some players would split their ice time with the city rink and a school rink in Nymore, just to accommodate everyone.
Bruce Hasbargen, the president of the Bemidji Youth Hockey Association, says, “Our association is growing. We’ve got more players coming in and there’s a need for ice and so, it’s a great day. We’re going to have, in the future here, we’re going to have more ice time for our kids.”
The new community arena rink is expected to be on a quick timeline. The construction of the foundation started today, following the groundbreaking. The construction will continue through this fall and next spring, and players can expect to hit the ice on the new rink in fall of 2019.
“Next week, we’ll be doing footings and over the next few weeks the structural components of the building to get ready for the wall panels and the roof system,” says Clint Bruestle, the construction manager of the project.
Johnston adds, “The intent of this new addition, the north rink, is to kind of blend in with existing architecture and existing building that we have. So, we’re going to basically continue the exterior look.”
The project will cost around $4.7 million. Half of that money has already been raised through fundraisers.
“We have our financial plan very well thought out to operate it, as well as maintain it. And we’re very proud to say it’s an all-volunteer facility and there was no government dollars involved in the operation of the facility and we’re very proud of that fact,” says Thompson.
Those working on the project say they’re excited to finally see everything come into fruition.
“It’s been 18 years since we originally broke ground, and we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished to provide a quality community asset,” says Bruestle.
The new rink will also have a few extra amenities. There will be a new parking lot, workout rooms for players, an expanded viewing area for fans, and an expanded Zamboni area.