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Civic Center board to consider opportunities


January 25, 2020


Ironwood — The Pat O’Donnell Civic Center Board will be exploring possibilities with the construction of the new facility that is scheduled to start this summer.

The discussion started with a special meeting on Jan. 14, said Jim Collins, board chair.

The board scheduled the special meeting to approve the purchase of a commercial skate sharpener that won’t require highly trained operators to sharpen skates, he said. The agenda also included the construction of the permanent facility to provide an opportunity to start the discussion.

“We will try to have another work bee session soon,” Collins said.

The board has heard from the city, the Polar Bear Hockey program, the Ice Crystals Figure Skating Club, Gogebic Community College and other stakeholders, he said. Now the board must put together ideas for what they’d like to see in the new facility and present them to the architects and the insurer to see what is technically possible and also what is fiscally possible, he said.

“It will be a work bee where we will be bouncing ideas off of each other,” Collins said. “We have all kinds idea but we really can’t say anything yet because we don’t know what the insurance or the engineers will say to us.”

The insurer guaranteed the reconstruction of the facility that was replaced with a temporary dome structure after heavy snow caused a structural collapse in March 2019. The dome was constructed on the same footings to provide for winter activities through March when work on the new facility will start, he said.

“We are currently waiting on the architects as they complete the preliminary engineering sketches,” Collins said. “We will bring a list to the architects and the insurance to see what we can and can’t do.”

The insurer wants to finalize as soon as possible in order to find a contractor as early in the year as possible, he said. The goal is to complete the construction of the facility in time for winter ice activities in late November.

“We want to get moving as soon as possible,” Collins said. “All that steel and sheet metal takes time to get and all of our local contractors want a chance to bid and work on it.”

There have been some quirks to work out with the dome but the feedback from the people who use it has been good, he said. This Saturday at 2:30 p.m. there will be a high school hockey game for the first time this year, when the co-op team of Ashland, Washburn and Hurley Wisconsin play at the dome.

“They will be playing a game against Kingsford, and will call it a home game,” Collins said. “The Ashland cheerleaders and their band are also coming coming so we are hoping to get people in the building.”


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