Wichita Ice Center plans to reopen on Monday

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After six weeks with no ice at the Wichita Ice Center, the wait is over.

On Wednesday, workers spent the day painting the ice floor before a second layer will be frozen on top.

“Well, I’m really excited. We’re really looking forward to getting back into skating,” skater Tim Parker said.

General manager Rob Boyle said the ice should be skate-ready by Monday, September 17th.

“We’ll have a full slate of programming going on.  We’ll have public skates going on,” Boyle said.

In July, an ammonia leak caused the ice in both rinks to melt.  Since then, crews have been working together to get one of the rinks up and running again.

“We had to have a hazmat crew come in to take out the chemicals and everything that was underneath the floor. That took a few days. Then we had to flush out the pipes and finally get the temporary chiller hooked up,” Boyle said.

Typically, during this time of year, the Olympic-sized rink would be filled with kids playing hockey or even figure skating. But the rink is going to have to sit empty until a permanent solution is put in place.

The nearest rinks to the Wichita Ice Center are in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, or Kansas City, causing many who needed to skate during the ice drought to have to make a road trip.

“Kansas City is different because they have four or five rinks and if one rink is having problems, and if one is having problems you can just pick up your gear and go ten miles and you’re at a different one. Here, if we lose our facility, we have to go a much greater distance,” Parker said.

Until a permanent solution is in place, all skate groups will have to share the NHL sized rink. Something Boyle says they can handle.

“For some of our programs, it might be some late times that they’re not normally used to but I think they’ll just be happy to get staking again,” Boyle said.

“I’m just looking forward to getting my gear back on and getting on the ice,” Parker said.

The temporary chiller is costing the city nearly $250,000 for a three-month rental. The city says they are currently still working on an agreement and going over pricing to permanently get both rinks back open.

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