Arena might replace aging systems

The aging HVAC systems at the All Seasons Arena, which one All Seasons Arena Board of Directors member estimated to be 30 to 40 years old, might be getting an upgrade.

At a meeting of the board held Tuesday afternoon, the aging systems in general, including HVAC and the audio system, took a special place in discussion.

“This whole arena needs to be upgraded,” said Renae Korslien, manager of the North Dakota State Fair.

“If these (HVAC units) are 30 to 40 years old, how many more years do we have in them,” asked board vice chairman Jeffrey McElwain rhetorically.

A motion was approved to have the system inspected and an estimate made for replacing the four aging units with two larger, newer ones. The estimate will be made by Prairie Engineering, a local firm.

Legalities force public bodies to advertise in the official area paper, in this case The Minot Daily News, for a certain period of time for contracted work. It was believed at the meeting, though, that simple inspections and estimates are not part of that requirement.

Ward County Historical Society

There was a discussion, brought about by Chairman John Fjeldahl, which was palpably controversial among the board members: Does the board have an opinion on the dispute between the North Dakota State Fair Board and the Ward County Historical Society regarding Pioneer Village.

The State Fair wants the space that the Pioneer Village occupies, which is on State Fair land. Ideas were brought up for places the Pioneer Village could move to should it come to that, but the arena board is not actually involved. That’s the stance arena board member Dave Lehner had on the issue.

The city alderman described his feelings toward the issue as “ambivalent,” because the historical society doesn’t interact with either of the arenas the board oversees, and that the issue should remain between the other two entities.

New permit application

The arena board unveiled a new permit application for those who wish “to banner, picket, march, protest, demonstrate, or caucus on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds during an off-season event.” An off-season event is defined as an event taking place on a day outside the nine days that the State Fair itself is in session.

Board member Jim Lee moved to approve the permit application, which is to be filed 30 days before the first day of a planned event, on the condition that its legality and ability to be enforced is determined and approved by Ward County State’s Attorney Roza Larson. The motion passed.

Other business

– Korslien said the arena revenue sheet “looks really good.” The facility fee is up this year, the ice contracts are back this year from non-existent last year, and the hotel tax “is wonderful.”

That hotel tax overtook the members for a bit in some loose discussion of what certain members had heard “on the grapevine,” but none of that factored into any motions. Still, members speculated that while the various hotels in the city may appear more empty, and have reduced their rates, there are still bus-loads of oil worker customers that wouldn’t appear in individual cars, indicating a full lot.

– Board secretary and treasurer Wally Berning wanted to know how the Affordable Care Act, the federal medical insurance overhaul act commonly called “Obamacare,” might affect expense accounts in regards to benefits packages. Those effects are undetermined at this time.