City of Wichita looking for ice rink fix

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The floors are still dry at the Wichita Ice Center, which leaves many people wondering what the plan is for the facility. 

"The ice was actually literally melting under our skates, said hockey player James Carpenter. "We were playing the last game before they shut things down. We were dropping the puck in puddles of water wondering what the heck is going on."

Last week, the chiller that keeps the ice frozen had an ammonia leak, causing the ice to melt. Even though no on was ever in any danger from the gas, Public Works Director Alan King says that after the damage was evaluated, they realized it was going to be much more than a quick repair. 

"In the meantime, we're trying to secure a trailer mounted chiller, like on a semi trailer, that we can use temporarily to get the sheets of ice back in place…refrozen again...to buy us some time to figure out what we want to do ultimately," King said.

They're now waiting for final bid for the temporary chiller. But if the city decides to go this route, they could have the ice back within a couple of weeks.

"That actually makes me feel really good," Carpenter said. "I think the biggest concern is just not knowing what's going on. There's a lot of uncertainty." 

Though no final decisions have been made, General Manager Rob Boyle says the goal is to get the rink back up and running as soon as possible and to make sure customers are taken care of in the meantime.  

"No ones gonna lose any money," he said. "They're not gonna miss out on any program that they signed up for. Some people have asked for refunds and we've given it to them."

Despite the closure, the ice center has been allowing roller hockey and lacrosse on one of the two dry rinks.

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