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School board eyes three preliminary arena options
Sept. 15, 2017

Nan Royce
Staff Writer

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – The Dassel-Cokato School Board had two big agenda items to tackle at its meeting Monday evening.

The first was a discussion of options regarding the arena recently donated to the district by the Dassel-Cokato Regional Ice & Sport Center (DCRISC) board. The second was a closed session for the evaluation of district superintendent Jeff Powers.

Board Chair Rebecca Clemen and Board Member Bill Aho presented a series of renderings depicting three preliminary scenarios for the newly-acquired arena.

The district usable facility option

The first and least expensive option for the 135-foot-by-250-foot building leaves the building primarily as-is, but adds roughed-in plumbing and concrete flooring.

The September 2017 bid cost for this option is $2,110,000.

The refrigerated ice option

The second option would allow the arena to be used for hockey during the 4- to- 5-month hockey season.

An ice rink would be maintained in the arena during that time frame. This plan calls for the addition of a Zamboni room and a mechanical room, but does not allow for locker rooms or concession stands. The plan does open up the building for other uses during the non-hockey season.

The September 2017 bid cost for this option is $3,200,000.

The spectator arena

The third option, and the most expensive, shows plans for a full-fledged ice arena. It includes locker rooms, concession stands, and bleachers. The arena could be used in a multitude of situations.

The September 2017 bid cost for this option is $4,920,000.

Other considerations

School board members perused the three options and associated construction costs.

Board Member Chuck Nelson stated he felt the district should name the building soon, so students and area citizens can begin to feel a sense of ownership of the property.

Board members reviewed other layouts for the space that included a regulation-sized baseball field, a four-court option for basketball or volleyball, and a multi-court facility with multi-use turf or retractable bleachers.

Aho indicated a formerly discussed mezzanine level in the arena space is no longer under consideration. The mezzanine area would add an estimated $200,000 to construction costs.

Board members also learned that former DCRISC funds and Mighty Ducks grant funds are potentially available to offset some of the district’s costs associated with finishing the arena.

Clemen was concerned that the board bring the best recommendation to district voters, as well as what estimated maintenance costs might be expected.

“What will it take to run it?” she asked. “The operating costs conversation is our next big discussion.”

The board concluded the discussion regarding the newly acquired facility and moved into a closed session for Powers’ performance review.

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