Minot Park Board members gave their nod of approval for possible expansion of Maysa Arena during a regularly scheduled meeting of the park board Tuesday night.
Jarrod Olson, program director for the Minot Hockey Boosters, asked the board for the go-ahead to take the first steps toward adding a third sheet of ice to the Maysa facility.
"They wanted to make sure we were okay with them starting to explore the idea on a more formal basis," said Ron Bieri, park board vice-president. "It's kind of the very first step of finding whether or not it was feasible."
Kim Fundingsland/MDN •
Daytime users enter Maysa Arena in Minot Wednesday afternoon.
"I would call it the preliminary, preliminary stages of what might be a good thing to do," said Olson. "Now we'll get a committee together and see if there's support for something like this. We'll get started with a general meeting. It's a monumental task."
The Maysa facility was built 12 years ago following a private fund drive and a financial commitment from the park board. According to arena manager Chuck Emory, the existing loan for the current arena should be paid completely within two years. Cost and financing for a third rink was not discussed at Tuesday's meeting. No official estimates have been done regarding expansion plans, but the price tag for expansion is expected to be in the range of $4 million to $6 million.
A positive is that the Maysa Arena was designed and constructed to accommodate expansion. Now the number of hours of use of the existing ice has increased to the point where expansion may be the only solution.
"That was the whole thought when we built it, what we could be at some day. Now that day is here," said Emery. "We're booked many hours at all three rinks (including Minot's All Seasons Arena). One day recently I only had 45 minutes of open ice. We had 148 for public skating last Sunday. All of our programs are growing."
"The user is telling us that they believe the programs are growing and therefore are looking ahead. Down the line they may need more ice and they are willing to take the pulse of the public and see whether that's the case or not," said Robert Petry, another park board member.
Maysa has two sheets of ice, one which has seating for approximately 1,000 people. Minot's third sheet of ice, complete with a larger seating capacity, is located at the All Seasons Arena. The proposed addition to Maysa would add 1,300 seats to the facility's east rink, bringing its seating capacity to 2,300. That number of seats is considered enough to accommodate crowds attending hockey games and other ice events. If an addition is added to the Maysa Arena, it would include a new ice plant that would be more energy efficient than the one currently in use.
"It would be real nice," said Emery. "The best thing would be to have all the ice users under one roof. Now we can approach other ice users, such as the high school and the college, and ask them if they want to do this. Asking the park district for approval was the very first step."
According to Emery, the Maysa Arena has been responsible for bringing $3.7 million into Minot in the past year and that number has been fairly consistent for the past four or five years. Those numbers, Emery says, are important to consider when discussing the possible addition to Maysa.
"We're seeing the growth in our program, as is the figure skating program," added Olson.
The North American Hockey League is expected to announce within 30 days whether or not a NAHL expansion team will be located in Minot. If so, it would be housed at the Maysa Arena. However, says Emery, a third ice sheet is necessary regardless of whether or not Minot lands an NAHL team.
"The junior team really has no impact on the need for a third rink. That's not what is driving the third rink," said Emery. "They would practice days when no one else is on the ice anyway."
Other teams in the NAHL Central Division include Bismarck, Aberdeen, S. D., and Austin and Alexandria, Minn. A request that all ice time be paid for in advance has already been agreed to by the owners of the prospective Minot franchise.
In other action, the park board accepted bids for new lighting at Corbett Field. The cost of $229,000 includes new wiring, removal of existing light standards and replacing them with modern, single-pole standards.
"You can't even get bulbs anymore for the old ones we have now," said Bieri. "Those old standards were beginning to rust away where the steel comes out of the footings. It was just as cheap to go new."
The lighting project is expected to commence in late summer after heavy usage of Corbett Field has subsided for the season.