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May 19, 2011 10:06 PM

Need For New Ice Arena Greater Than Ever


The carbon monoxide poisoning at the Minnehaha County Ice and Rec Center this week is just one of a handful of reasons hockey players and figure skaters in Sioux Falls say they need a new facility.

They say the 30 year old Minnehaha County Ice and Rec Center is inadequate and unsafe. That's why the Ice Sports Association was formed last year to get a new one built, but it's not going to happen overnight.

A 3D animation of the new $7.5 million ice arena shows what  it could look like once it's built. Sue Salter, executive director for the Ice Sports Association says this latest incident shows the need is greater than ever.
"Our user groups have had to endure a lot," Salter said. "This might be just another challenge wondering about the safety of the facility, but I can tell you this, everything we are planning for the new facility will be geared toward using the latest technology, making it as efficient as possible, creating a very safe environment for all of our ice users."

Salter says the goal right now is to raise two and a half million dollars in private money. And they're about a third of the way there.

The land for the new facility has already been donated. It's sitting next to the Sanford Sports Complex near the airport which is still under construction.

The new facility will have three sheets of ice and will use electric zambonis, not ones powered by propane like at the current facility, which emits carbon monoxide.

"All of that can ensure, zero emissions to the interior to your facility," Salter said. "We are planning our facility with all those things in mind."

Which means hockey players and figure skaters won't have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning. 

"What we hear all the time is that we can't get a new one built fast enough," Salter said.

The city has already set aside a half million dollars for the new ice facility in its 2014 Capital Improvement Plan. Salter says they're hoping to have it built in two to three years.
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