By Jennifer Kotila
The Dassel-Cokato Regional Ice and Sports Center (DCRISC) received news this week that it was one of 11 recipients of a Mighty Ducks grant from the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission.
The DCRISC received a grant of $200,000, meaning construction on the ice arena will seamlessly move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 the installation of the refrigeration system.
“This is very exciting news for our community,” said DCRISC chair Keith Raisanen. “The light at the end of our 14-year tunnel is starting to get pretty bright.”
Raisanen noted that the grant would not have been possible without the work and strong support of the Dassel-Cokato School Board, Superintendent Jeff Powers, State Representative Dean Urdahl, and many others who helped during the long grant application process.
Grants were awarded to public entities, therefore, the school district acted as the applicant and is the recipient of the grant.
A total of $1.5 million was awarded to various Minnesota communities to assist in improving indoor air quality in ice arenas and eliminating the use of R-22 systems in ice arena refrigeration; it required a minimum dollar-for-dollar match from non-state funding sources.
Communities could apply for up to $20,000 for new electric ice resurfacing equipment, up to $200,000 for the replacement or renovation of HVAC systems to improve air quality, or up to $200,000 to replace an existing R-22 refrigeration system; and a total of 11 grants were awarded.
Before receiving the grant, the DCRISC had at least $1.3 million in funds from non-state funding sources, which was enough to complete the project through Phase 2.
Phase 1 of the project included building a 135-foot-by-250-foot exterior shell of the arena at a cost of $1 million.
Phase 2 includes building out the interior of the arena with locker rooms, acquiring hockey boards, and installing a fire protection system at a cost of $350,000. This phase is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
When Phase 2 is complete, an occupancy license can be obtained from Minnesota, allowing the building to be used.
However, the refrigeration system would not yet be installed, and skating would largely depend on the cooperation of the weather to provide for natural ice for skating purposes.
The building will also be used for other school sports, such as golf, baseball, softball, and track.
Now that the DCRISC has received the grant, work on Phase 3 can begin immediately, according to Raisanen.
With the grant and other anonymous donations, the DCRISC has about $300,000 in funding to begin Phase 3, according to Raisanen.
Although the building committee has not met since being awarded the grant, Raisanen expects about $350,000 of the roughly $1 million in construction needed for Phase 3 to take place over the next 12 months, he said.
Some of the work for Phase 3 that can be completed with the funds on-hand include installing the underground pipeline for the refrigeration system and other subsurface work, readying the mechanical room for the refrigeration system, completing a majority of the concrete work, and installing the hockey boards.
Other communities that received grants were:
• City of Austin: $150,000;
• City of Champlin: $32,925;
• City of East Grand Forks: $148,375;
• City of International Falls: $20,000;
• Kittson Central ISD 2171: $200,000;
• City of New Hope: $98,700;
• City of Sartell: $100,000;
• City of West St. Paul: $200,000;
• City of White Bear Lake: $200,000;
• City of Winona: $150,000.