After breaking ground in April, the Jennifer M. O'Neal Community Ice Arena, or Reno Ice for short, will open its door in the coming days.
The $9.5 million project has been in the works for more than five years and will give Reno its first indoor skating rink in almost two decades. The facility was built via a non-profit as a way to bring Northern Nevada a state-of-the-art indoor rink. The 38,843-square-foot building houses an NHL-sized rink and can seat up to 900 people.
Reno Ice will host hockey teams, curling matches, broomball, ice skating lessons and free skating ($10 plus $4 for skate rentals), among other activities.
"The most rewarding part is when I see kids out here or the board sees kids out here, it's all worth it," said Joel Grace, the president of the Reno Ice Board of Directors. "That's what we did it for. That's why we organized the non-profit. That's why we have the scholarships for kids who can't afford to play and putting those types of programs in place. But we really just wanted to bring another alternative for kids to be active as well as for the adults to be active in the community."
The facility also includes a lobby, a skate rental shop, a snack bar and a full-service restaurant, with the latter of those two items opening later this winter. This is the first part of a planned two-phase project with a second rink going in adjacent to the first one. The projected cost of that phase is $6 million.
"This is a community arena, and we want it to be a community in every sense of the word," said Mike Harder, a former college All-American at Colgate and Reno Ice's director of hockey. "We want this to be their 'third place.' You have home, you have school. Or you have home, you have work. What's your third place? For some people, maybe it's Starbucks. For us, we want it to be this rink. We want people to be safe and just have the best time of their lives right here."
The facility is expected to open within the next week.
You can watch Shannon Kelly's full package on the opening of Reno Ice below.