More than 164,000 people walk through the doors of the 44-year-old Ice Center each year, including residents participating in hockey programs, figure skating, public skate times, broomball, birthday parties, annual ice shows, tournaments and other events. The Ice Center is the second most frequented facility in the District, second only to Park Center.
The electrical system, plumbing, sewer lines, HVAC system, bleachers and fire suppression system at the Ice Center are outdated. The facility has many ADA accessibility issues and the interior is undersized and poorly configured, including the lobby, concessions area, pro shop, locker rooms, office space and storage. The envelope of the building is highly energy inefficient and leaks during rain events. Flooding also occurs at the front entrance. There are also many challenges outside the Ice Center, including deteriorated sidewalks and curbs, a lack of security lighting and the need for parking lot improvements. The current Ice Center is also at capacity when it comes to the availability of prime-time ice. Expanding existing programs and/or adding new programs is not possible.
After evaluating a new Ice Center proposal, versus a renovated Ice Center proposal, the Citizen Task Force recommended that the new Ice Center option be tested in a mail survey and phone poll. After evaluating the public opinion research and other public input, a super majority of the Citizen Task Force recommended that a renovated Ice Center option be pursued rather than a new Ice Center. The Task Force also recommended the walk/jog track and children’s adventure play area be removed from the project to further reduce the total project cost.
The Park Board of Commissioners agreed with the Citizen Task Force with regard to renovating the existing Ice Center, rather than replacing the facility, as well as eliminating the walk/jog track and adventure play area to reduce the total size of the request.