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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Local ice arena opens doors following $600,000 in renovations

The Frank Southern Ice Center, 1965 South Henderson, opened its doors to the public for the first time last Wednesday since undergoing an estimated $600,000 worth of renovations that started in May. Just one step into the entirely redesigned front lobby and the difference is clear.\n"Anyone who's left Bloomington and come back is going to say 'wow,'" said assistant manager Alex Kyrias. Kyrias also serves as general manager and assistant coach for the IU hockey squad. "From the inside, it's a completely different building."\nAmong the multiple additions are an improved cooling system, a new party room that will be available for rent, new boards, new floors, a new paint job, new bathrooms, a new ventilation system, a relocated concession stand, a new skate sharpener, a new sound system, two state-of-the-art cooling towers and a desperately-needed new electrical system. \n"Last year, we couldn't run a microwave and the popcorn machine at the same time," Kyrias said. Another bonus is the new compressor, replacing a severely outdated piece of machinery that resembled something out of Freddy Kreuger's boiler room.\n"With the old compressor, to make it cooler we had to use a crank," Kyrias said. "It looks like something out of the middle-ages. It was awful."\nBut most apparent will be the new overhead arena lights that have four times more wattage than the previous system. The old system was so dismal that opposing hockey teams often referred to the Frank Southern Ice Center as "the cave."\n"I'm not so desperate for home ice advantage that we'll have to turn the lights back down again," joked coach Rich Holdeman. Holdeman was one of the dozens in attendance at the celebration. "When these new lights are turned down to their very dimmest, that's what it was like at full blast last year. I'm really pleased with what they've done."\nFunded by the Bloomington's Parks & Recreation, it is the second time "The Frank" has undergone major renovations. The first occurred in 1988 when the city spent about a half million dollars to keep the facility operating. As with similar projects, getting everything finished was a race against the clock.\n"I know it always comes down to the wire with something like this but we were literally racing to get it done by the 19th," said Jeff Beall, arena director and youth sports coordinator for Bloomington Parks and Recreation.\n"I've never seen ice here in September," Holdeman said. "Now I can't wait to get out there."\nFor those that have been around the facility for a while, Wednesday marked the culmination of a major struggle to keep ice sports in Bloomington.\n"Back in 1996, the city was threatening to shut us down," Kyrias said. \n"Our motto has always been, 'keep ice in Bloomington.' Four years later, we were still here. Now we've added another 5-10 more years to this building. Plus, it's a much better place to play a game in"

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