It won't be long now before the first skaters step onto the ice at the new Pason Centennial Arena expansion in Okotoks.

The $15 million expansion is scheduled to open at the end of January.

Town of Okotoks Recreation Facilities Manager Doug Robson says there will be an NHL-sized ice surface, three multipurpose rooms and a leisure skating rink that can accommodate about 75 skaters, as well.

"There's a leisure sheet going in, with a walk-around surface," he explains. "You can walk around the whole thing with your skates on. There's a sitting area inside the leisure sheet and there's a projector on the wall for projecting movies, the Olympics or something along those lines."

He adds a focal point of the leisure rink will be a fireplace situated on the north wall, as well as benches where spectators can sit and enjoy the fire and watch the skaters.

Robson describes the leisure ice surface as being oblong in shape, just less than half the size of the NHL-sized surface. The NHL-sized ice surface is 200 feet by 85 feet in size and will have seating for 300 people.

He points out there will also be a few areas in the expansion that will feature the works of artists, two art cabinets as well as a mural.

There is also space for a yet-to-be-built mini stick arena.

"I'm looking for sponsors," Robson explains. "We didn't build it, but it's ready to go. We would scale it so that it's scaled down, it's a mini version of a normal rink. We're looking at maybe putting some boards up and some glass up so the kids can just sit back there and have some fun. They're going to do it anyway, so why not give them a place to do it?"

The new expansion will be connected to the existing Pason Centennial Arena, as well as to the Foothills Centennial Centre by an interior walkway.

He points out the three multi-purpose rooms are available for rent, and one in particular will work well for hosting birthday parties.

"Downstairs, we put a multi-purpose room with windows viewing the leisure ice," Robson says. "You don't get exclusive use of the rink, but you get exclusive use of the room and you can walk back and forth with your skates to the room and out to the ice."

Robson says that construction on the multi-purpose rooms wrapped up Tuesday January 2, they were starting to make the ice for the NHL-sized surface, as well as work on finishing up the fireplace at the leisure rink.

The expansion will open at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 with the grand opening slated for Saturday, March 3.


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