Civic Center may open Thursday


November 13, 2019


Ironwood — After months of work the Pat O’Donnell Civic Center could be ready for skaters on Thursday evening, according to city officials.

Bill Nyman, maintenance manager for the Civic Center, and Ethan Roehm, maintenance worker, started making ice on Monday and expect to have a skate-able sheet of ice by Thursday.

“When we get done with the ice I believe we have the Ice Crystals (Figure Skating Club) scheduled that night,” Nyman said.

The ice will be there until March for the youth hockey and figure skating programs and open skating, he said. The facility is also available for rent.

Nyman, who worked with the previous building, said he likes the dome. It gives the rink a bigger feel, he said.

The lighting in the old Civic Center shined down onto the ice, he said. The dome’s LED lighting shines up on to the white liner and gives the rink more of a daytime sunlight feeling, he said.

City officials, Civic Center board members, insurance company officials and the contractors did a walk-through of the facility on Friday and Monday, said Scott Erickson, Ironwood city manager. Ironwood Township approved a temporary certificate of occupancy until a short list of items to complete are accomplished to become a permanent certificate.

The weather was the primary obstacle, said Adam Baldassarre, a project manager with Signal Restoration Service, the Detroit area contractor that tore down the exterior of the Civic Center and installed the temporary dome. The rain slowed progress but the structure was up before the first snow, he said.

“Everything that we incurred worked out pretty good,” Baldassarre said. “We didn’t have many major issues so everything went pretty smooth all the way through.”

After weeks of deconstructing the roof, walls and preparing the surrounding terrain for the inflatable dome, it was definitely a big relief to see the dome inflate. He supervised several workers and many sub-contractors for the duration of the project.

Baldassarre, who comes from Nashville, said he has worked on all kinds of restoration projects over many years. But this was his first dome.

“We usually do restoration work such as this but this was the first dome installation,” he said. “We do ground-up and everything involved with construction.”

The dome was shipped to Ironwood in sections and errected at the site. The harder outer shell protects from the external elements and a lighter inside liner helps the inflation unit keep the dome up.

The roof held up well against the snow, Erickson said. The maintenance staff added a little extra air pressure inside to keep the inflatable fabric tighter to protect against the weight of snow.

“They have these domes in other locations with winter climates,” Erickson said. “The same company installed a similar dome in Siberia and they have the process down as to what to do with a bubble structure to keep it inflated.”

The Civic Center opened in 1982 and closed last March after a roof collapse from heavy snow. Insurers and engineers evaluated the structure and determined that the footings are sound and can be rebuilt at the current location.

The cost of the rebuild is covered by insurance, Erickson said. The city would be responsible for additional costs beyond the rebuild such as add-on items, he said.

At a special meeting on Monday, the Pat O’Donnell Civic Center Board approved making an offer for the Civic Center manager’s position to Michelle Rigoni-Sivula. The offer was accepted and the position will be official once the background check and other new employee protocols are completed, he said.

Rigoni-Sivula was one of two finalists who were interviewed from a list of seven candidates for the position. The position was offered a second time after a previous finalist accepted another position prior to being offered the Civic Center job.

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