Howelsen Ice Rink lobby likely getting an upgrade |

Howelsen Ice Rink lobby likely getting an upgrade

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

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After several years of discussion and background work, Steamboat Springs parks and recreation staff have begun the process of expanding the base level of the Howelsen Ice Rink lobby area and adding a second level to the lobby.

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. The expansion also allows for a potential concession stand.

“We had some significant needs,” said Alexis Wolff, Steamboat recreation manager.

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,” Wolff 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.”

The space will be designated for youth programs, but any interested party may be eligible to rent it out for other purposes, Wolff added.

“The addition of the offices was almost a second thought we just had some additional space to make it into offices,” said Matt Barnard, Steamboat parks project manager. “That was kind of a lucky win.”

When the building was designed, the developer added available infrastructure, which is already in place in the current building, with existing foundation on the back side, which will be the expansion for the first level for the building addition. The structure over the lobby area of the existing building also was built to accommodate a second story, Barnard said. The existing EPDM material, a type of synthetic rubber, is going to be stripped and turned into the second level.

“There’s a huge cost savings to this project right off the bat with this infrastructure in place,” 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.”

Barnard said the city does not have a specific cost estimation yet but that most of the cost will come from building maintenance, such as HVAC systems, rather than actual construction.

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. Barnard said staff hope to put the project out for bid later in February and start construction this summer, with opening the space in early 2022.

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