Tom Hintgen/Daily Journal: Mark Masten, left, School District 544 business manager, gave a tour of the new community ice arena Thursday to board members of the Fergus Falls 544 Education Foundation. They included Tony Rendz, Gene Donley and Jim Worner (pictured) and other board members.

Archived Story

Connecting past to future

Published 10:44am Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday’s tour of the new community ice arena, for members of the Fergus Falls 544 Education Foundation, included a walk down memory lane in addition to viewing the new arena and satellite facility.

The hallway, to the north of the main arena and south of the satellite arena, is situated near what used to be the science wing in the former Fergus Falls High School.

“Some of you who attended FFHS no doubt remember Earl Engan teaching chemistry here, and others of you recalling biology and home economics classes,” said Mark Masten, tour guide and School District 544 business manager.

Masten provided the tour after the education foundation’s monthly noon meeting. He explained, inside what was once the former entry way to Fergus Falls High School, that the northward portion of the complex is now Roosevelt Education Center. To the south is the city-owned arena.

The main rink of the new community ice arena complex is on schedule and will open on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The Otter girls junior varsity and varsity hockey teams will play at the new facility on Thursday, Nov. 17.

The grand opening celebration for the community arena is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.

The tour group headed outside to see the industrial chiller, to the east of what was formerly the high school cafeteria. The chiller already is used to cool Kennedy Secondary School during the warmer months. In the winter, when normally not in use, it will be used to serve the main ice arena and satellite facility.

The school district pays for the refrigeration system’s capital expenses, while the city is responsible for the chiller operating costs.

Buses carrying visiting hockey teams will drop off players at the front door, along the half circle drive, in front of Roosevelt Education Center. Parking for the general public will be on the south side of the complex.

“Figure skaters now have their own changing room, with lockers,” said Masten. “That’s something they didn’t have at the old arena. I’m happy for them.”

Concession counters, with up-to-date adjoining kitchen, is located on the second floor at what was formerly the foyer connecting the high school cafeteria, science wing and lockers and classrooms, to the south.

The half cent sales tax to pay for the Fergus Falls Community Ice Arena will begin Jan. 1, 2012. In simple terms, $3 million for the original $7 million project comes from private contributions and $4 million is the city’s responsibility.

Arena enhancements are coming from private donations. The $3 million goal from private sources has been exceeded.


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