You’ve done it; you’ve been able to secure the land, money and approval to move forward on an ice arena—and/or multipurpose facility—that will be enjoyed by the community for years to come.
So, now what?
While those definitely are the biggest hurdles (outlined in our recent article detailing the 5 initial steps to make ice facility dreams a reality) what is going to make your facility shine is what you put into it—literally.
The age-old adage states that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. While at HTG we will absolutely make your building beautiful on the outside, we want to make it uniquely yours on the inside, where users will see the facility’s true beauty.
Here are a few things to consider including in your facility plans:
The main components
It seems like a no brainer, and for the most part it is, but we’d be remised to not tell you to make sure you account for all of the major hardware needed to operate your facility. Make sure you have enough bathrooms, locker rooms and seating to adequately fill the space.
As we mentioned in our 6 Common Mistakes Made While Planning an Ice Rink, bathrooms are often overlooked. 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 75 males, and one (1) per every 40 females). Plus don’t forget to include unisex bathrooms to best serve all families and members of the community.
Other things that need to be accounted for include water fountains with bottle fillers, lighting (more on that in a future article) concessions and skate rental. Again, size is dependent on the size of your facility, but consider the additional revenue concessions and skate rentals will bring in to your facility.
Oh, and don’t forget the ice. Depending on how many sheets you have, based on the needs of the community, consider different ways you can utilize your ice time. While hockey, public skates, and figure skating are going to be your main customers, consider adopting some new trending sports like broomball and curling. The more you can offer on the inside, the longer the line might grow outside, and the more revenue you will generate.
The training components
Your housing athletes—what makes it appealing to them? The more you can offer in training, the better. Maybe you have the ability to have a turf track that skirts the edge of a multi-purpose dome like our Vadnais Heights Facility. Maybe it’s as simple as adding a weight room for lifting. Some rinks have a mezzanine where dryland training can occur simultaneously to having teams/players on the ice.
The fun/unique components
There’s plenty to delve into here, so let’s break it down further.
Recre-tainment: Remember that word we made up in this article? It really is the best way to describe what we’re talking about. Maybe you have space for an arcade with a few pinball machines, bubble hockey and change machine. Or maybe you can go full scale with a racing game, skee-ball, air hockey and the works.
We’ve seen facilities that have movie theaters in them (seriously), daycares, party rooms, you name it, it can be done. Make the arena a destination for even more than just skating. Often times moms and dads are forced to bring little brother or sister along. Watching big bro or sis skate around? Boring. Make sure there are activities to keep them entertained as well. Mom and dad will surely thank you.
Aesthetics: There’s nothing cooler than walking into a facility with a lot of great artwork/pictures or hardware to greet you. Show off your town history with some murals or old photographs. Celebrate the community’s youth teams with team photos, trophies and banners. Welcome folks into what could become the heart of your community.