Whitney Rink officials eye mid-December opening

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High school competitive hockey players practice on the ice for the first time at the new Whitney Rink at the M&M’s Center last week. The ice is only open to competitive hockey players and competitive figure skaters. Officials are projecting an unveiling of the new facility Dec. 19.
High school competitive hockey players practice on the ice for the first time at the new Whitney Rink at the M&M’s Center last week. The ice is only open to competitive hockey players and competitive figure skaters. Officials are projecting an unveiling of the new facility Dec. 19.

SHERIDAN — The public’s first chance to see the Whitney Rink at the M&M’s Center ice arena is coming — and soon. Construction progress and a completed ice surface have officials projecting an unveiling on Dec. 19 featuring skating and tours.

Competitive figure skating and traveling hockey squads began using Whitney Rink for practices a couple days ago, according to Sheridan on Skates Board Vice President Dan Carlin.

This came about thanks to a cooperative environment between the city and the contractor, Groathouse Construction. While construction crews took a brief break for Thanksgiving, Sheridan on Skates representatives finished up the ice surface.

The city, meanwhile, worked out an agreement with the contractor for temporary occupancy until Dec. 18. The deal allows for construction throughout the day and then limited ice-skating at night.

While the groups that use the ice are grateful to avoid trips to Gillette for practice, crews still have plenty of work to do.

“There is only the ice surface,” Carlin said. “We’ve got the locker rooms yet to be finished, all of the flooring to be put down, all of the north end to be finished, which is the skate room and the bathrooms.”

The temporary occupancy allows for 60 skaters and a very small area to change.

As a whole, amenities are lacking. Skaters use portable bathrooms outside the arena, and services like skate rentals or sharpening are still not available.

But these features are coming, and sooner than later. The locker rooms are three-quarters finished, Carlin said. A lot of the remaining work is cosmetic — like hooks and benches — and large-scale construction is mostly finished. After the soft opening in December, contractors should complete the job by Jan. 8.

Once the $6 million, 35,000-square-foot Whitney Rink does open, it promises to be one of the nicest arenas in the state.

“Very excited,” Carlin said. “It’s awesome inside.”

Large windows on the south end of the arena give Whitney Rink an outdoor feel. This is unique amongst indoor ice facilities, Carlin said, because most feel enclosed. The facility will hold eight locker rooms to accommodate both figure skating and hockey programs. The rink will also feature a concession stand, an exercise room, a meeting room and spectator seating for 420.

The Sheridan on Skates Board is excited for the public to view the arena on Dec. 19. Carlin expects a full house and thinks people will be excited by what they see — especially if it’s a really cold day. The 45 degrees inside the arena beats skating outside when it is 10 degrees below zero, he added with a laugh.

Tours and skating should start around 1 p.m. on Dec. 19, but a schedule will be available on SheridanIce.org as the date gets closer.

Whitney Rink is located at 475 E. Brundage St. in Sheridan.

Article: The Sheridan Press 

The Sheridan Press

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