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Ice Arena Improvements

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 20, 2016 4:47:06 PM / by Adrienne K. Paskind, AIA

Over time, all buildings will exhibit wearing of components requiring assessment for replacement and/or upgrading. As ice arenas start to age, there are a number of improvements that ice facility managers can schedule for their buildings. From new roofs to window glazing replacement, renovation of entries, bathrooms, and lobbies for accessibility compliance, these updates will not only improve the users’ building experience, but will also save on operating costs by creating more energy efficient spaces. There are many benefits of upgrading and maintaining a well managed rink facility. These upgrades increase opportunities for hosting school team sports or local community sports at large. Well maintained ice arenas contribute to the well being of participants as well as observers.

I think my ice arena may need improvements. Now what?

If your ice arena is showing signs of aging, there are many updates you can (and probably should!) make periodically that are easily accomplished. Although ice arenas have unique components and special requirements, many components are conventional, typical of all buildings. These may include:

  • New roof and soffits
  • New entry and window system glazing replacement for energy efficiency
  • Addition of new glazed openings and skylights for increased natural daylighting associated with better health, and lower utility costs
  • Interior improvements including: electrical and fire safety upgrades
  • Modifications to existing bathrooms for accessibility and alterations to include updated or new team rooms
  • Building modifications for general improvement and additional recreational amenities

Other, more specialized components specific to ice arenas to be evaluated and considered for upgrading include:

  • Modifications to the main rink entry approach for accessibility for both players and spectators and for compliance with federal and local code requirements
  • Replacement/updating of bleachers to incorporate accessible seating, better viewing and safety options
  • Replacement of skate flooring /tiles, and dasher boards for users’ safety
  • New mechanical dehumidification equipment

The following are a few photo examples (before and after) where entry and glazing systems have been removed and replaced with new systems to improve energy use and building access for all.






Translucent panels original to many of the rink buildings were replaced with new, safety and insulated glazed panels. Approach from parking and sidewalks were altered to provide better accessibility. Additional doors, with appropriate hardware, were installed in the new entry door systems making access and transitions from outside to inside smoother and more inviting.



Before_2.png After_2.png


Who can help?

Calling an architect and engineer with experience in ice arena updates can provide you with a design plan to incorporate energy efficiency to make the facility more operationally sustainable and provide a structured timeline for sequencing necessary improvements.

Other improvements that are more specialized and are crucial in running an efficient rink can be achieved with the right engineering professional’s involvement. These improvements may include state of the art selection of appropriate mechanical equipment to eliminate excessive condensation contributing to premature building system wear or failure.

Ultimately your architects and engineers can make recommendations, provide code analysis and help the coordination of new interior components such as dashers and seating that can help improve both the spectators’ and users’ enjoyment.

What is a typical process? Will the arena have downtime?

Coordination between the architects, engineers, contractors, and facility managers is crucial for a successful project. As a facility operator or manager, you are in tune with daily schedules, issues, available budget, cost savings, and components that need attention and can provide invaluable information for improving a rink facility.

Your architect and engineer will provide the expertise to work out building details within your budget. This process will include assessing the existing building and its components, determining immediate and long term concerns, providing options for moving ahead, timelines (including any downtime if needed), and budgets.

Typical steps in an arena update include:

  • Field inspection/investigation to document current building condition and discuss concerns and future needs
  • Measure existing structure that will need to be modified and or renovated
  • Propose new specialized and efficient components that need to replace existing ones that are nearing the end of their life, including associated budgets and timelines
  • Code research and analysis to ensure that all areas being renovated or are to receive new components, meet current code requirements
  • Point out existing, unaltered portions of the building that function properly and can remain without any updates
  • Provide sketches for recommended improvements/alterations for approval and follow with construction documents (drawings and specifications) for the construction work and permitting

CCA can provide construction administration and coordination for work being performed and help minimize possible downtime.

In Conclusion

Outside of the improvements that updating an ice arena provides (such a building safety, visual and comfort related updates), embarking on a capital improvement project has additional benefits. New insulation and roofing prevents water infiltration, insulated and well-sealed window glazing creates more energy efficient spaces for working, sports, and assembling. Reconstructed entrances provide a smoother and a more inviting entry to a rink facility benefitting both the community it serves as well as the rink managers/operators.

Over the past 14 years, CCA has worked with ice arena operators on their capital improvement projects at multiple rinks. Click here for more information on those programs or contact us using our simple contact form.



Topics: Structural Integrity, Engineering, Construction, Architecture