LUSELAND - The Luseland arena will undergo two phases of improvements, with some of the work ongoing now, while more substantial work will take place in the spring of 2023.
Luseland supporter, and minor hockey representative, Dallas Cairns, says arena improvements will included foundation repairs as well as interior updating.
“We continue to sell rink board ads, with eight spots left for purchase, which helps with our funding efforts. We have plans for foundation repairs next spring. We had the Memorial Arena assessed by engineers and they deemed that with some foundation work that the old rink would be safe and strong for decades to come.”
Committee member, and Luseland councillor, Candice Kraft, says, “Structural assessments by engineers deemed the 75-year-old building has strong bones and the rafters are strong and structurally sound, which is good news for our historical building, which is full of memories and character.”
Fellow committee member, Cairns, added, “It isn’t as crazy as we thought it was going to be, so that’s a great thing.”
Two Phases planned at present
Over the summer, the committee has jumped into Phase One, with two projects.
Cairns said they are currently moving the penalty box across the ice so the players' benches can be larger. These benches were relatively small before, especially for older teams.
“We are upgrading the sound and PA system, which is being funded by selling rink board ads and private donations. The current PA system is the original bullhorns from 1947,” add Kraft and Cairns.
Phase Two will be the spring of 2024 foundation work and, depending on funding and support, the committee says there may be a Phase Three, which will look at revamping some of the dressing rooms.
“We have a great board and a lot of support and appreciation from the Town of Luseland,” Kraft adds.
“The spearheader for the funding so far has been Dallas [Cairns]. We wouldn't be where we are without him. The board is considering doing a major fundraiser in the future to bring awareness and funds to the project. There has also been a great deal of volunteer labour which has helped to keep costs down.”
The recreation board includes Dallas Cairns, Candice Kraft, Adam Franko, Brent Honeker, Brian Gottfried, Caley Ostrowski, Jonathan Thompson and Kelsy Thompson.
“We looked at and weighed many options including applying for funding to potentially build a new arena. We were unsuccessful with our grant application, likely due to the inflation of costs at the time that the grant was due,” Kraft says.
“Our initial numbers for a new build were between $5 and $6 million, by the time the grant application was due the projected cost was up to $14.3 million. At that point we didn't have much faith in the funding coming through.”
“While a new rink would have been fun and exciting, our old historic barn has so much history and character it would have been heartbreaking to see it go,” the committee adds.
“We are thankful for the people who make good use of it, the people who have stepped up to lead the improvement project and the individuals who have and will continue to support fundraising and improvement efforts to keep this important building open and functioning for our community and surrounding area.”