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Morgantown Ice Arena project to be a renovation of the existing facility

MORGANTOWN — By any estimation, expectations regarding the overhaul of BOPARC’s Morgantown Ice Arena have been tempered.

Gone are visions of a multi-level facility with an on-premise restaurant and a second sheet of ice.

What’s coming, Mills Group’s Ryan Hess explained, is primarily an extensive renovation of the existing facility.

“The deep renovation involved … would represent everything of that main arena being removed and demolished. The only thing that would be standing would be the existing glulams and the existing purlins,” Hess said, noting the slab beneath the rink will be removed and rebuilt with new under-slab heating and refrigeration components tied to a new chiller unit.

The project, according to a floor plan presented by Hess, would also include about 7,700 square feet of new space, representing an overall jump in square footage of about 25%.

Those new spaces will house additional locker rooms, party areas, a mechanical/Zamboni space and administrative offices.

Most critically, the overhaul will make the building, which began life in 1978 as a canopy over an outdoor sheet of ice, thermally efficient, allowing ice to be programmed year round.

BOPARC has capped the budget for the project at right around $10 million. It’s one of two major undertakings, including a new Marilla Pool complex, that will be bonded against future revenues generated by the city’s 1% sales tax.

Unfortunately, $10 million has never bought less in terms of construction projects.

BOPARC President Jenny Selin said a big part of the reason for the seeming lack of progress was a hope that construction and materials costs, which have exploded in the wake of COVID-19, would come back to earth.

“And I’m here today to say that they’ve only increased. That’s a tough challenge right now,” Hess said.

BOPARC Executive Director Melissa Wiles said the aim is to begin construction in the spring of 2023 and take at least a year to complete.

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