An architecture firm hired by the city has a $24 million idea that would add a second sheet of ice to the East Grand Forks Civic Center and convert its VFW Memorial Arena into a fieldhouse with a mind toward indoor sports, such as football, softball, golf and track. City Council members are scheduled to discuss that “arena feasibility study” on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Consolidating two rinks to a single spot would mean less staffing, utility and maintenance costs, staff at JLG Architects contend in a 64-page study, and the plan would leave room for city leaders to tick off items on a laundry list of recommended upgrades as they see fit. The move also would mean new locker rooms at the Civic Center, a consolidated spot for hockey tournaments and “greater opportunity for dry flood/off season events.”
But, perhaps most notably, it also would be a way for the city to deal with a potentially expensive problem. The aging refrigeration systems at the Civic Center and the VFW use a chemical called R-22, which is being phased out under an Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency mandate. City Council members voted in June to spend $25,000 to stockpile 2,000 pounds of