Civic Center renovations begin | News, Sports, Jobs

From left to right, Peter Dimmig, Civic Center Project Director, Joe Garso of North Woods Engineering, Tim Northrup of North Woods Engineering, 2023 World University Games mascot Adirondack Mac, SLCC Board chair Ollie Burgess, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Development Barbara Rice, SLCC Board Member Mike Ritchie, SLCC Manager Matt Wolter, Empire State Development North Country Regional Director Steve Hunt, Franklin County Economic Development Corporation Jeremy Evans and President of Luck Builders Jeff Luck dig shovels in the loose dirt outside the Saranac Lake Civic Center on Monday, celebrating the start of construction on the center that will host curling events at the 2023 World University Games. (Corporate Photo – Aaron Cerbone)

LAC SARANAC – Eight golden shovels dug into the dirt outside the Saranac Lake Civic Center on Monday, run by local and state leaders who gathered to celebrate the start of a $ 6 million construction project at the rink.

The Civic Center is undergoing a major upgrade before becoming the site of international curling competitions during the 2023 World University Games.

Behind the crowd, the field was technically already broken. Teams from Luck Builders in Plattsburgh began digging the giant pit in front of the Civic Center last month. This will ultimately be where the foundation for the building’s new atrium addition will rest.

This first phase of construction will continue throughout the winter and will focus on improvements other than the rink itself, in order to avoid disrupting the ice time. Construction is scheduled to be completed in November 2022, according to Peter Dimmig, project manager for the civic center.

When Lake Placid won the 2018 World University Games bid, the state’s Economic Development Council asked if the Civic Center could accommodate curling. It wasn’t possible at the time, but this build is supposed to put it up to par.

After negotiations with the state, New York offered a 75% matching grant through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

The state has pledged $ 4.5 million for the $ 7 million project so that the rink can host curling events for the 2023 World University Games, if volunteers at the Civic Center are able to muster the rest. themselves.

Dimmig said they are already close to reaching the $ 1.5 million the state has asked them to pay. On Monday, the community raised $ 1.35 million, Dimmig said.

The project got a boost this spring with a $ 500,000 gift from retired Goldman Sachs partner Barrie Wigmore and his wife Dee Dee, who have a camp here. There were other big giveaways, including $ 200,000 from Stewart’s Shops in October.

Dimmig said the project received 94 donations between $ 100 and $ 500, 36 between $ 50 and $ 100 and 36 donations under $ 50.

Dimmig said these small donations are the most important in his mind. He said it shows the community’s interest in the project, even among those who don’t have much to give. Community members were invited to donate as much or as little as they liked.

Ashley Walden, a retired Olympic sledger and head of operations for the WUG organizing committee for the 2023 games, said the ice at Lake Saranac is a treasure for the region. Although she lives in Lake Placid, she says she is at the Saranac Lake Civic Center at least twice a week with her two children who skate and play hockey.

“I’m just as excited as a member of the community as I am for the games”, Walden said.

Barbara Rice, a former member of the Franklin County Legislature and the State Adirondack Park Agency Board of Directors, who is now Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, grew up in Saranac Lake and said she was excited to see the state’s investment in a project in her hometown. .

She said that the international attention to the region that the WUG will bring is great, but for the community, the improvements to the rink are a big lasting problem. She said the games have done a good “catalyst” for improvements.

Rice said she grew up skating. She would have joined her school’s hockey team, but at that time girls were not allowed to play hockey.

Recently, the Pee Wee Hockey Association Inc. transferred ownership of the building to the Saranac Lake Civic Center, Inc., a not-for-profit organization.

There will be a mezzanine with benches, a larger kitchen and a new ice resurfacer. Currently there are four changing rooms without a bathroom. The plans show six new changing rooms, four with showers and bathrooms. And the draft includes heat upgrades, to keep fans in the stands warm.

The center is currently in use for about seven months a year. Dimmig said they hope to make it a year-round facility with air conditioning in the summer.

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