The Edge Ice Center in Owensboro is currently closed and this is what the rink looks like at the moment.

The facility is undergoing a massive resurfacing project and I got an inside look over the weekend, thanks to my friend Kerry Bodenheimer with Owensboro Parks and Recreation.  If you know Kerry, you know she started her career skating for Disney on Ice.  She has spent endless amounts of time at ice rinks around the world. Until now, her home ice, at the Edge Ice Center, has never looked quite like this.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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Kerry and I met Saturday morning with Joe Krawczyk, whose son's company, Ice Builders Inc., is overseeing the month-long project.  The first thing I learned from Joe is that there are two kinds of floors for ice rinks- concrete and sand.  The City of Owensboro, when planning construction of the new ice arena about fifteen years ago, opted for a sand floor.  It was certainly more cost effective than concrete, but it makes the resurfacing project a little more difficult and time-consuming.

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Chad Benefield
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Here's how it works.

The first step in replacing the ice floor is getting rid of what's already there. The Edge's Zamboni launched into action. The majority of the ice had to be shaved away before the melting process could begin.  The Zamboni shaves an 1/8 of an inch at a time.

After a whopping 67 (yes, 67!!) trips around the rink in the Zamboni, it was time for the next step in the process.

That involved melting the rest of the ice. The chillers were turned off last Monday morning so the remaining ice would melt.  Over the next three days, that ice was turned into 15,000 gallons of water which had to be swept away and pumped out of the arena.

What was left was a combination of water, sand and pipes.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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Speaking of those pipes, have you ever wondered just how much piping it takes to chill and maintain an ice rink like Edge?  I got the answer.  Beneath the surface of Owensboro's rink you'll find TEN MILES of pipe.  That's over 50,000 feet of pipe.

When Kerry and I visited Saturday morning, the next step was underway. All the sand on the rink floor has to be completely saturated. Once it is, the chillers will be turned back on and that sand will be frozen and will again serve as the firm base for the rink.  Joe informed us that before that happens, he and the crew will canvass the entire rink to make sure the surface is completely flat.  That sounds like a rather painstaking task considering it's measured within an 1/8 of an inch.

Well, here's how they do it.  They use tennis court squeegees.

After the sand is frozen, the process of rebuilding the ice begins.  That is expected to begin this Tuesday.  That ice will eventually be about 2 and 1/4 inches thick.  For a point of reference, take a look at this photo.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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The ice is expected to come up to that first row of screws in the baseboard.

To make sure the water becomes ice, the subsoil chillers at the Edge will be set at 40 degrees. The ice floor chillers will be set at 23 degrees. In other words- COLD!

And here's the machinery that makes that happen.  I was able to go into the control room and take a couple of photos.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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That machinery, by pumping glycol chiller through the pipes in the arena, is what keeps the Edge Ice Center the "coolest place in town."

The Edge Ice Center opened in August of 2009 and replaced the Owensboro Ice Arena, which served the city since 1964.  The facility is open year round and is located within Moreland Park, right in the heart of Owensboro.

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If you'd like to watch the progress of the Edge resurfacing project, CLICK HERE!  You can tune in Monday through Friday 7am through 5pm CST.

 

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