Maysa lacing its skates for expansion

Organizers behind the proposal for an additional sheet to Maysa Arena attended the monthly Minot Park Board meeting on Tuesday, explaining where they are at in the process while also looking for approval to begin work at the site as soon as possible.

“We need to be able to move forward in breaking ground,” said Jarrod Olson, program director of the Minot Hockey Boosters. A notion now for about four years, the third rink project has slowly been coming together. As many undertakings in the area were, its start was delayed some by the chaos that followed 2011’s Souris River flood.

But progress is also dictated by the ability to pay for it. The whole project is now estimated to run between $7 million and $7.5 million, and perhaps as much as $8.4 million, depending on the additional features chosen. Without taking out any construction loans for the project, a sizable portion of that cost will be paid with civic funds, with three annual installments of $1 million slated to come from the Community Facilities Fund and a $1.5 million contribution planned from the Minot Park District.

But with city funds to come in the form of reimbursements, fundraising will be critical for keeping a pool of operational money available.

“We need to be at a certain point,” Olson explained, with enough cash on hand to pay for the different stages of construction. Not including public funds for the expansion, personal and private donations are so far pushing that pool to around $1.26 million. Minot Hockey Boosters and associated user groups kicked off their donation campaign last month, breaking out the oversized checks for contributions from a number of area banks and businesses.

“There are a lot of irons in the fire,” Olson added, with additional money pledged and plenty of prospective patrons to call up.

“We’ve made some conscientious decisions” adjusting plans “to better correlate to the funding available,” said Jay Kleven, project manager with area architectural firm EAPC, which has been onboard for two years.

“We’re at a planning and schematic design stage,” he explained. “That’s when you start making more specific decisions.”

The original planners behind Maysa’s construction had not accounted for any

future expansion in their design. In adding a third sheet and its ancillary facilities, the architects’ job now is to figure out how best to integrate the materials and make it all work spatially. From the roof ties to its foundations, the new rink will also need to be plugged in to a shared refrigeration system, sewage and water utilities.

In planning the new rink’s situation, Kleven explained that there were some limitations to their available options.

“There’s an existing roadway infrastructure that we had to come to terms with,” which Minot Park District will be moving further from the arena to accommodate the addition. The ability to expand southward is also limited, with the raised section of parking lot actually situated on top of an active landfill for solid waste.

“We’ve had to be mindful of that,” Kleven said.

With construction being planned in set stages and fund sourcing not completely assured, the key to designing the expansion is flexibility, prioritizing features and leaving room for later adaptation.

The first step will be construction of a mezzanine at the southern end of the existing Eck Rink, to act as an intermediary level that will link it with the new sheet. Running across the full width of the rink, the mezzanine will serve for the time being as a viewing area with extra standing room.

“From a design side, it’s the necessary step,” said Olson. Once the specs are readjusted, preparations will be made to advertise and take bids for the project by next month, with site construction to begin in May and end by August.

“We bid this last year,” said Kleven, but offers came in too high.

“We’re taken a little aback when those bids started coming back,” Olson added. Anticipated costs for that phase are at around $250,000.

Olson and Chuck Emery, the arena’s manager, have both cited increased usage as necessitating the new addition. For the past two years the park district has had to rent space at the North Dakota State Fair’s All Seasons Arena in order to keep up with demand. In addition to catering to the community’s various hockey and skating programs, Maysa is also a popular venue for weddings, concerts, conventions, and other public events.