“Opportunities for students during the winter is something we really want to see happen,” said Chris Abrams, Dean of Student Development. Unfortunately, the idea of the campus ice rink has not worked out so well.
Last year, the ice rink was put to use for boat races. It also served as a habitat for goldfish and provided inspiration to creative writing students, according to Jim Palone, physical plant director. Unfortunately the use of the ice rink this year seems unlikely.
Palone said that the idea of an ice rink has been brought up many times in the past. It wasn’t until last year that Student Senate decided to act on the idea.
The physical plant is in charge of setting up and tearing down the ice rink. They are also storing it in a storage area on campus according to Palone. Last year it took eight to ten people for the set up and about a day to assemble and fill it with water.
“There were some minor leaks in the liner. This is not uncommon but it does mean that the ice rink needed to be repaired. It was difficult to tell where the leaks were in order to patch them. Typically places will order a new liner each year,” Palone said.
Abrams said that since the weather has been very sporadic this winter, it hasn’t been practical to set up the ice rink. “I monitor the weather and if we found a snap where it was really good for a long period of time we would still consider putting it out for this year,” he said.
When it has been cold enough for the ice to freeze, it hasn’t been the type of weather in which people want to go outside. “I don’t know if I want to go out in zero-degree wind-chill and skate,” Abrams said.
Student Senate first decided to purchase the ice rink because of a suggestion made by a faculty member, said Bob Book, student body president. It was an attempt to provide winter activities for students.
Budget cuts have affected almost all areas of the university. “We still have some hope that the ice rink is going to work out. Right now Senate is not pursuing any purchases of anything as big as the skating rink,” Book said.
Abrams told the Aviso that February is the last month the rink could be assembled, leaving only a couple weeks of possible skate time for students if it stays consistently cold.