Archived Story

Arena seats changed for comfort

Published 11:14am Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spectators at Fergus Falls’ new community ice arena might be able to sit a little easier after a change order approved by the city council on Monday.

The council approved a change order that will install nine rows of spectator seats in the main viewing area instead of 10, allowing for backrests to be installed on the seats later if an interested group raises the money. The cost of changing the plan will be offset by some cost-saving change orders, City Engineer Dan Edwards told the council.

“Right now we have just bench seating,” Edwards explained, and once the concrete for the seating is poured for a 10-row configuration, backrests would never be able to be installed. The backrest configuration was considered during the planning phase of the project but was scrapped amid cost and capacity concerns.

“What’s happened since then is through some change orders and additional fundraising, we’ve added on the expanded heated observation area on the west end of the rink,” Edwards explained. “This expanded area has allowed for additional bleacher seating, and that additional seating would offset the loss of one row of seating in the general stand area.”

Though losing the 10th row loses about 100 seats, Edwards said that the approximately 140 new seats in the observation area will make up for the loss. The extra 40 seats also brings the rink’s capacity up to approximately 1,150 spectators, right around what the Fairgrounds Ice Arena has. However, the fairgrounds rink has more seating capacity, while the new arena will have more standing room.

Edwards also reported that work has been coming along well, with workers finding alternate ways to continue work on rainy days. Though he said at the beginning of June that work is about a week behind schedule, Edwards said that it is now hard to estimate exactly where the project is on schedule, but he believes it’s close enough to its goal that it will open before the fall hockey season.

“We’re still planning to meet the construction budget,” he said.

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