Janesville Ice Arena closes for much-needed renovation

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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Janesville Ice Arena is getting much-needed maintenance now that the winter skating season is over.

The city closed the arena and started removing the ice April 15, the day the Janesville Jets lost their final game of the season. Contractors began demolition work last week.

Workers will install new ice-making equipment—officials were holding their breaths the 33-year-old equipment would last the season—and put on a new roof. They will build a small addition that will house a new garage for the Zamboni and a locker room.

The project includes new fire escape doors and a sprinkler system in most of the arena, said Matt McGrath, city engineer.

The total project cost is about $2.5 million, including design work. The contract to do the work was about $1.75 million.

New ice equipment will use a geothermal system that takes advantage of the water in the nearby pond to cool the ice-making water in the summer and warm it in the winter. The water for the ice-making system will run through the pond via 30,000 feet of coiled pipe, McGrath said.

Workers will weigh down the coils of pipe, which will sink to the bottom of the pit and be anchored there, McGrath said.

The new system will be ammonia based.

Finish date is Sept. 4, in time for the Jets new season. The ice-making part of the project should be completed Aug. 12, so the city will have plenty of time to troubleshoot any problems, McGrath said.

That should also allow the Jets to begin practice on their home ice, even if the entire project is not yet completed. The team will hold tryouts and camp in Verona this summer.

The renovations were approved but not without protracted discussions at the council level.

A private group at one point attempted to raise money for a new ice arena. The council agreed to put up $2 million for a new facility. But fundraisers could not raise the money, and a location proved controversial. The arena has not had citywide resident approval since the day it was built.

Last updated: 8:05 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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