Skaters look forward to the ice arena reopening on July 18 to continue with the Learn to Skate program or just to cool off from hot summer days. At the same time, skaters may witness an aesthetic transformation of key areas inside the ice arena. The bids for the renovations arrived June 1 and the projected starting date is July 1. The completion date of the entire project is anticipated to be mid-September.
To be completed during this phase is a new skate shop, skate rental, concession stand and office space. Quite noticeable for individuals who enter the updated ice arena is the creation of a new pedestrian traffic flow. The public may find the space more inviting by easily being able to browse the skate shop and buy food or drink from the concession stand. The ice arena staff want their facility to be more customer friendly and allow those who come into the building to feel more welcome.
The completed concession stand is to have a small kitchen area. The foods offered include hotdogs, pizza, nachos and pretzels, with soft drinks, water and PowerAde beverages. “We are going to try some other food items and see what works and what doesn’t work,” said director of the ice arena Jamie Baringer. “Breakfast food items are planned as a healthier alternative and in competition with fast food restaurants.” All foods at the concession stand are planned for quick service.
New space is being created for offices to be in close proximity to the main entrance and each staff member. This new office area is where the current skate shop is occupied. Additionally, the ticket window booth is expanding into an open office area. “The new office arrangement is conducive for a better working environment,” Baringer said.
The updated skate shop is to continue marketing clothing apparel such as t-shirts, sweatshirts and skate related items for purchase. For the skate rental area, 500 pairs of brand new Riddell skates have been ordered. The current skates at the skate rental have hundreds of miles on them and it is time for their retirement. “The old skates are being sent to inventory and disposed of as how they see best,” said staff assistant Laura Dunn. “They gave us their loving use, but are now so bad that they have become a liability.”
Approximately one-third of the skates ordered are hockey skates. Some skaters feel they are more comfortable, easier to skate with or they just want to be on hockey blades. Figure skates are exceedingly more popular at BGSU with around 335 pairs purchased. Learn to Skate programming starting with youth size six skates through adult size skates is a determining factor. However, there are two types of figure skates – the traditional skate and the recreational skate. The skating industry is leaning toward the recreational skate for rentals. Recreational skates are a soft-side skate, so it fits more like a tennis shoe. “If individuals are placed in recreational skates, they can ease into skating a little better,” said Baringer. “They may be hooked into life-long skaters if the skate feels comfortable.”
Skaters who come to the ice arena this summer are going to watch it transform into a user friendly facility. They get to observe firsthand the progress of the improvements. The updates are creating a more enjoyable experience for all visitors of the ice arena.