Hockey players and figure skaters will have an ice place to skate next winter, with South Suburban Parks and Recreation District's new ice rink and recreation complex slated to open in December.
Construction crews recently affixed the final roof beam to the sprawling complex at the southwest corner of County Line Road and South Holly Street. Here are five things to know:
Yes, there will be three sheets of ice
The complex will replace the South Suburban Ice Arena off Arapahoe Road, which turns 52 this year. The old ice arena features two sheets of ice, which are under increasing demand as hockey and skating programs grow, said South Suburban spokesperson Jamie DeBartolomeis.
Though initial plans for the new complex only included two sheets of ice, the community made it clear that wasn't enough, DeBartolomeis said, and the new facility will feature three sheets.
Though initial estimates placed the cost of the new complex at $50 million, the project will likely cost $61 million, owing to the addition of the third ice sheet and higher-than-expected construction costs, DeBartolomeis said. The funding comes from a combination of bonds and certificates of participation, according to a fact sheet.
It'll be more than a place to skate
Though the ice sheets are the centerpiece of the new facility, the complex will also include two indoor synthetic turf fields, and a gymnasium that can be divided into basketball, volleyball or pickleball courts.
The 206,000-square-foot facility will also feature a restaurant and bar, seating for more than 1,000 spectators, party rooms, training rooms and a pro shop. The facility will also be the new home of South Suburban's administrative offices.
The old arena's future is unknown
South Suburban will mothball the old ice arena for the time being, with no plans to sell the facility or the land. The ground beneath the ice sheets is frozen to an unknown depth, DeBartolomeis said, and could take years to defrost. The district doesn't have firm plans yet for the old building.
Initial studies looked at revamping or expanding the old facility, but found that even partial thawing of the permafrost beneath the building could cause foundation upheaval, and the district concluded it was more cost-effective to build a new facility.
The adjacent parking lot will become overflow parking for DeKoevend park.
There's a new site for disc golf
The new recreation complex replaced the site of old South Suburban disc golf course, which has been moved to the West Fork Open Space Park, on South Broadway between Plaza Drive and Highlands Ranch Parkway.
The new 18-hole disc golf course will open in May, DeBartolomeis said, and will be operated by Highlands Ranch Metro District, which ponied up for the bulk of the $480,000 project.
That's not all that's going on around the district
South Suburban has lots of other irons in the fire, DeBartolomeis said. Three of the district's four outdoor pools — Harlow, Franklin and Holly — are getting total rebuilds this winter, with plans to open in time for Memorial Day.
The district is also gearing up for a board election — two seats on the district's five-member board are up for grabs. The election will be held May 5. For more information, visit ssprd.org.
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