6 Mistakes Made While Planning an Ice Rink (and how to avoid them)

Posted by Miriah On April 2018

 

  1. Not fully understanding how revenue drives building design

Think like a developer: Are the elements of the design attracting people in or adding revenue sources to the bottom line?

 

You don’t want to build space that is underutilized. Where does most of your revenue come from—and how do you keep those customers happy and wanting to return? Who can you partner with to bring in additional revenue?

 

The better you can understand and consider these elements before and during the planning process, the better off you will be.

 

  1. Are you giving them recre-tainment?

The ice arena business is always changing. No longer can you have the simple mentality of, “build it and they will come.”

 

People want an experience. They want value, and the best rinks are looking for ways to attract their customers by adding design features to their facility that will enhance the experience. It can be as simple as a bubble hockey game in the lobby or as elaborate as a drive-in movie theater outside (seriously we know at least one facility that has added that feature). Ultimately, it’s anything that provides an extra bonus for the younger brother or sister who is being dragged by mom and dad to the rink to watch Susie or Johnny play or practice.

 

Not to mention, sports tourism is growing—are you providing them with a destination location?

 

  1. Short-term gain versus long-term pain

The choices you make in the design stage will have an impact on your day-to-day operations—another reason proper knowledge and proper planning is key.

 

An efficient design can help you reduce the number of staff required to operate your building. By selecting the right materials and operating systems you are able to decrease operating expenses, and ultimately add to your bottom line.

 

  1. Selecting the right site

Location, location, location; when it comes to selecting the plot of land you’ll build an ice facility on, it’s important to ask a few of the following questions:

 

  • Is the site you are considering ready for construction?
  • What are the soil conditions? What materials are best for building on those?
  • What does the City think about a rink on that site?
  • Is it possible to partner with an existing entity (school or City) and put a rink on property that is ready and underutilized?
  • Is there easy in and out access?

 

The more answers you get to the above questions, the better of you’ll be before you dig. Do your research and find solutions before there are any problems.

 

  1. Getting the seating right

The number of seats in your facility drives some very important cost factors—and we’re not just referring to attendance and ticket sales.

 

Two such factors that immediately come to mind are toilets and parking.

 

Toilets are expensive to build and maintain. The number of toilets required is code based on the number of seats in your arena. In sporting venues, that’s one (1) per every 200 males, and one (1_ per every 150 females. Plus don’t forget handicap accessible bathrooms, which require extra space for one bathroom stall.

Similarly, usually one (1) parking stall is required for every three (3) seats in your facility. Therefore, the more seats you have, the larger site you need and the bigger the parking lot is that you have to build and maintain.

 

Secondary impacts driven by the seating includes the size of the lobby and the size and number of stairs.

 

So while it sounds great and grand to build an ice arena with room for 10,000+ cheering fans, consider the additional complications before committing.

 

  1. Don’t go in alone

You want to partner with an experienced team to help you through the process. Money spent on quality design and construction will pay for itself many times over in the life of the building.

 

The ice industry is well connected and ready to help you get it right the first time. Find people that are plugged in and have the knowledge to help you exceed your project goals.