Ice rink with hockey players

Too often I hear stories about how the costs to build an ice rink stall progress and even prevent rinks from being built entirely. This is a heart breaking reality for too many communities looking to provide a place for skating, training, gathering, learning, competing and so much more. 

The underlying challenge in the many stories I hear, is that the hurdle to finance a dream ice rink is too high. In most communities, access to ice is what is needed - especially when trying to grow youth programs. So a practice rink is the perfect solution. To address the financial hurdle, our team put together a boilerplate practice rink design that incorporates all the essential spaces of an ice arena, which we call a Rink in a Box. Starting from a standardized template, rather than designing each rink from the ground up, provides cost savings and efficiencies in the design and construction processes. While there are definitely scenarios where a unique, state-of-the-art ice rink design is necessary; when access to ice and a finite budget define your project, a basic framework is a great place to start.

A Rink in a Box

And we've designed this basic ice rink framework to cost less than $6 million to bring to life. You get ice, seating for 200, locker rooms, lobby and office, training space, concessions, and meeting spaces. View the full floor plan, here:

RinkinaBox_Floor Plan


The Main Stage: Ice Rink & Seating

How to Build a Rink BlogOur Rink in a Box framework is designed around a standard NHL size ice sheet - 85' x 200'. Then we added in seating for 200, which is a great starting point for most rinks. But, the beauty of this basic design is that most spaces can be modified if needed and if budget allows. So, if 200 seats won't accommodate your anticipated visitors, there are ways to adjust the design to fit what you need. 

Skater Support: Locker Rooms & Dry-land Training Room

Apart from the rink, skaters and teams need a few additional spaces to support their sport. First, locker rooms - where the bonding, education, coaching, dressing, and supply storage happens. We've planned four of these team rooms, with two shared toilet and shower spaces in this basic design. Second, we've allocated space to a dry-land training area, where the off-ice strength, agility, and endurance training can happen. From a community recreation perspective, this dry-land training space - depending on how it's equipped - can draw in non-skaters to your facility as well, which can serve as another revenue stream. 

How to Build a Rink - Locker Room  How to Build a Rink - Dryland Training

Third, there is one separate referee locker room / restroom combo to host game day official(s). 

Rink Maintenance: Refrigeration Plant, Resurfacer, Storage, & More

How to Build a Rink - Resurfacer RoomThese behind-the-scene spaces may not be as fun to budget for, but you can't build a rink without them. This Rink-in-a-Box design accounts for the required rooms at their necessary sizes: 

  • Refrigeration plant
  • Resurfacer room
  • Janitorial closet
  • Electrical
  • Multiple storage rooms & an office space to support rink maintenance

Visitor Enjoyment: Lobby, Concessions, Meeting Rooms & Restrooms

How to Build a Rink - LobbyIn addition to skaters, your ice rink needs to welcome and host visitors - parents, siblings, fans and more. To do that well, your rink should have a number of spaces dedicated to an enjoyable visitor experience, which we've included in our design. The large lobby should be inviting with seating space to give guests a place to lounge outside the cool arena seating. The welcome desk greets your skaters and your visitors, and provides all admin and support necessary (payment, check-ins, wayfinding, etc.). Concession stands are a staple, providing snacks and hydration to skaters and guests - plus, its another source of revenue to support your operation. A meeting space is not only great for the skating organizations using your arena, but it's a great community asset that can attract non-skaters into your facility. Lastly, we've included the essential support spaces - restrooms, storage closet and an office.

Financing Support 

Our experience designing rinks paired with trusted vendor partners and this framework make it possible to build an ice rink for less than $6 million. While this is a significant decrease in costs compared to ice rinks designed from scratch (costs ranging anywhere from $8-12 million), it is still $6 million - and that money has to come from somewhere. Being part of so many rink projects over the years has exposed us to a lot of different and creative ways to get financing. So, in addition to a lot of ideas and examples, we also have resources available to help you get the financing needed to bring your ice rink to life.

If you have questions or want to learn more about our financing resources, please reach out. 

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Published on October 22, 2020

Topics: Ice Arena Architecture, Community, Ice, Recreation, Recreation Center

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