by Jackson Boline

Let’s Play Hockey Contributor

The city of Alexandria is close to adding a fourth sheet of ice on the west side of the Runestone Community Center, attached to the “West Rink.” This $20 Million project has been in the works for the past 14 years. 

“We have about $11.2 million committed through the state and city,” Said Kent Kopp, chair of the Capital Campaign Committee. Kopp has been a part of this project for the past 12 years.

“Our goal is to raise $8.8 million, we currently have $3.8 raised, and we are hoping to get more this summer,” Kopp said.

The community and the state have been a great support for the project to get the funds they need.

“We have a very strong city council, who value the space it’ll provide, and they understand all the benefits this will have for the city.”

Kopp mentioned how the city has agreed to start the architectural drawings for the building. These designs will be done by JLG Architects, who will create three phases of the expansion project.

“The three phases are; one, remodeling the south side of the original building; two, adding square feet to the existing lobby; and three, building the new rink for more ice time and dry floor events,” Kopp said.

“We hope to break ground in the spring of 2024 for phases one, and two. The following spring will be for the new arena.”

As reported by Al Edenloff of the Echo Press, at a meeting, the Alexandria City Council did approve a memorandum of understanding, which is to give Bremer Bank exclusive naming rights for the East Arena. This would be the main, original sheet of ice that host the girl’s and boys’ Varsity teams and the Alexandria Blizzard of the NAH3L, which was built in 1978. The bank pledged $325,000 in support.

Hilltop Lumber of Alexandria will have naming rights for Arena 3, the new sheet of ice that will be constructed in the expansion. Hilltop Lumber pledged $300,000 in support.

The third rink in the RCC would be attached on the southwest side of the main sheet of ice in the Runestone Community Center. Alexandria would have three rinks on the west side of town, those being located on the fairgrounds. The other rink is located on the East side near the High School (AAHS) which is used for NorthStar Christian Academy.

The community of Alexandria wants to meet the demand for more ice time, but the other key component is having another rink for an event center. This includes being able to host dry-floor events while having three other ice sheets available.

This expansion is expected to bring a positive and economic impact to the community by intriguing more hockey players and their families from the area. This could also give Alexandria an opportunity to host more tournaments, which would bring more out-of-state visitors.

The city has completed pre-design work that will eventually be reviewed by the state. The deadline for engineering and architectural work is Mar. 22.