Ice rink milestone: Concrete poured at Treadwell Arena in Douglas

JUNEAU -- The concrete surface for future down-to-the-buzzer goals and graceful triple axels materialized Sept. 26 at the Treadwell Arena in Douglas.

About 30 concrete finishers, with an audience looking on, spent nine hours smoothing about 300 cubic yards of concrete over a network of rebar and black refrigeration pipes. The super-flat structural slab eventually will be covered with an inch of glossy ice, giving Juneau its first indoor ice rink.

"This is the most important thing in the whole project," said John Stone, city Engineering Director.

Fourteen people from a Minnesota firm that specializes in ice rink slabs were brought in by contractor Coogan Construction Co. to assist with the continuous pour, said project superintendent Bob Schenker. The surface, which doesn’t contain expansion or construction joints, is the largest monolithic slab poured in Southeast Alaska, according to Coogan Construction.

"It’s concrete, but what makes this one interesting is we have over 10 miles of refrigeration piping in the slab and we’ve got 20 miles of steel reinforcing above and below it," Schenker said. "Specs for an ice rink are far more stringent than they would be for a normal floor. ... The ice is quite thin so the floor has to be very level."

The ice rink’s opening has been delayed, partly because the city moved up construction of the building’s locker rooms, dehumidification system and sprinklers when grants came through, Stone said. The project originally was to have been split into two phases.

"In the original contract we issued we had them completing Nov. 20, but as the project has gone along, we got some additional funding so we’re in the process of discussing more work with the contractor," Stone said. "So we’ll have to give them more time to do that."

It may be possible to open the facility while some of the final construction elements are being completed. The arena should be open to the public by mid-December, Stone said.

The total cost of the rink was budgeted at $3.52 million, but Stone said he plans to ask Juneau Assembly members next week for about $100,000 more to finish the project.

Funds have come from local sales tax revenues, state and federal grants, the Rasmuson Foundation and private donations. The Douglas Fourth of July Committee donated the building design with volunteer help from Juneau architects Jensen Yorba Lott Inc. The rink’s ice resurfacer is in storage in Juneau after a trip from the Penworth Saddledome Stadium in Calgary, home of the Calgary Flames hockey team.

The Treadwell Arena’s manager, Greg Smith, was hired this summer and job announcements for other staff should be out shortly, he said. Smith worked at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks before moving to Juneau.

The city Parks and Recreation Department hopes local groups will organize hockey leagues. The department is interested in partnering with community members to set up skating lessons, Smith said.

"That’s how it’s worked around the rest of the state and it seemed like the best model to follow, but it’s kind of been slow in coming," he said. "We’re hoping having a half-season will be a chance for people to get a feel for the rink and get an idea of where they want to take it."

10/06/2002 - 8:00pm