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Mitchell’s second indoor rink expected to be ready Dec. 1

Chris Niemeyer, of Rink-Tec International in Little Canada, Minn., vents a refrigeration unit Tuesday as glycol is pumped off a truck as part of preparations to lay down a sheet of ice in a new, second indoor rink at the Mitchell Activities Center. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

Construction of a second indoor ice rink at the Mitchell Activities Center is nearly done, but still is missing a key ingredient — ice.

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Workers with Rink-Tec, a Minnesota-based company, are in the process of installing equipment at the facility to lay the sheet of ice, according to Mitchell Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Dusty Rodiek. The $2.8 million expansion of the facility, which has been ongoing since last spring, is now expected to be completed, ice and all, by Dec. 1.

“We’re getting wrapped up here very quickly,” Rodiek said in an interview Tuesday.

Construction of the facility’s parking lot was delayed after water and sewer lines below the lot were found to be closer to the surface than expected, Rodiek said.

To prevent the lines from freezing, additional insulation was installed at a cost of approximately $23,000, Rodiek said, but that does not mean the project will go over budget.

“With any project like this, you do have some contingencies built in,” he said.

As the project nears completion, contractors have been finishing minor jobs, such as painting, installing flooring and covering electrical work. Meanwhile, Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department staff and volunteers from the Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association have been busy completing work that wasn’t contracted out, including the installation of the boards and glass around the ice rink, Rodiek said.

With hockey season already under way, Rodiek said, staff members have been working hard to operate and maintain the current facility while also working on the expansion project.

“The staff has been bending over backwards trying to get this done,” he said.

City officials hope the second sheet of ice will mean more tournaments will be held in the city, bringing more people and more money.

“It will be a nice resource not only for the skating and hockey people, but the community in general,” Rodiek said.

The project is being paid for with $2 million of the $13.9 million in bonds the city sold in December and January for various projects, along with $500,000 pledged by the Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association, and about $400,000 the city expects to raise through a business improvement district tax on the city’s hotels and motels.