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Ice rinks at West Fargo Sports Arena await repair

West Fargo's ice rinks are empty of people and ice while officials work to repair the refrigeration system.

A mural of a hockey player next to a staircase.
The interior of the West Fargo Sports Arena.
Pioneer file photo
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WEST FARGO — The West Fargo Sports Arena may not have ice right now, but the West Fargo School Board took action Monday, July 25, to ensure ice is plenty by the upcoming skating seasons. The two rinks at the arena have been open for less than 5 years.

The West Fargo School Board unanimously approved a nearly $200,000 repair to the cooling system at its Monday, July 25, meeting, although the board hopes insurance will help cover the unexpected cost.

As school district staff and arena personnel worked with commercial refrigeration specialists to get the ice back in working order, they found it will take a specialized repair.

Repairs are estimated to cost about $180,400, which includes about $38,0000 already spent on work and repairs. This is the first time the repairs were brought to the attention of the school board as a whole.

"It is an issue with the chiller barrel, which is comprised of more than 650 tubes that pass energy on a vertical loop and need to be replaced," Business Manager Levi Bachmeier said. "We certainly do not appreciate the number, but we will be submitting this to insurance to minimize the impact to the building fund."

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The repairs are expected to take about 12 weeks to be finished. Although there is not a high amount of revenue from rental of the arena that will be lost over the summer months, potential revenue loss will be submitted as an insurance claim, Bachmeier said.

"It's disappointing seeing the building empty during the summer when it's crucial during the summer for the kids to be honing their skills," School Board Member Jim Jonas said. "It's such a nice building."

Board President Patti Stedman suggested staff begin to memorize routine repairs for facilities that may come along only once every few years so that if issues arise in the future, new staff or board members will have the information.

West Fargo Public Schools broke ground on the arena in August 2016 after voters overwhelming approved a multi-building, $98.1 million bond in November 2015. The 70,000-square-foot facility opened in 2017 with two sheets of ice, a community room and 11 locker rooms. The nearly $20 million facility has seating for more than 1,000.

The building is owned by West Fargo Public Schools and managed by the nonprofit West Fargo Events.

READ MORE FROM WEST FARGO EDITOR WENDY REUER
West Fargo Public Schools made the change to its student handbook which will apply to all schools. Fargo and Moorhead have similar policies, but they allow teacher discretion.

Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at wreuer@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

Related Topics: WEST FARGOHOCKEY
As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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