Construction on Howelsen Ice Arena expansion to begin mid-August |

Construction on Howelsen Ice Arena expansion to begin mid-August

Nick Carelli, with Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation, shovels the snow off the surface of the outdoor ice skating rink at Howelsen Hill in February. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Staff with Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation are making progress on expanding the base level of the Howelsen Ice Rink lobby area and adding a second level to the lobby.

Construction on the project is expected to begin Aug. 16 or sooner, with a tentative completion of spring 2022 at the latest. Project Manager Matt Barnard said when the building was designed, the developer added extra foundation on the back side of the building, which will serve as the expansion for the first level of the building. The structure over the lobby area of the existing building also was built to accommodate a second story, Barnard said. The existing ethylene propylene diene monomer material, a type of synthetic rubber, is going to be stripped and turned into the second level.

“The infrastructure was already there so this is a cost-effective project,” Barnard said. “Basically, we just need to do all of our vertical construction. There isn’t any below-grade work that needs to happen, which is a huge bonus for our budget.”

Dmitry Chase will manage the ice rink, which is slated to be free for all who are interested in using it and is run by the city’s parks department.

Recreation Manager Alexis Wolf said the expansion will include two office spaces, a concessions area with a kitchen and a multipurpose space for youth events that will be open to all youth in the community.

The ice rink currently has four locker rooms, but the city has had a growing number of female players. Because of this, city staff are required to provide equitable access and equal amenities within the facility — meaning staff needed to add another locker room and two more restrooms in the lobby area, both of which will be ADA accessible.

“We had some significant needs,” Wolf said.

While the goal of the expansion was to add more bathrooms and a locker room, staff also said they have wanted to offer more youth programs for a while, as the city does not have any facilities dedicated solely for youth, which became a more apparent need when COVID-19 caused school sports and other youth activities to close.

“With the pandemic this year, everything moved to the forefront that we needed our own space because the school district closed down a lot of those programs,” Wolf said. “We wanted an additional space that we could use not only for youth programs but that could also be rentable for birthday parties or meetings.”

Barnard said while a space for youth has long-been a priority and the locker rooms were a legal necessity, the office spaces came as an afterthought, as a result of having extra space.

“That was kind of a lucky win,” Barnard said.

Wolf said the entire project has a budget of about $1.4 million.

The design began in summer 2020, and Parks and Recreation is working with Steamboat Engineering and Design, a structural engineering firm that has helped design the plans and helped design other areas on Howelsen Hill.

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