Morgantown Ice Arena repairs approved, hockey players scramble in the interim

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In a special BOPARC meeting Thursday board members approved $15,000 from levy funds to repair equipment in the Ice Arena and will ask the city council for another $10,000 to temporarily open the facility.

BOPARC executive director Melissa Wiles told the board members the only other option to pay for the repairs was to use budget money ear marked for playground equipment. In the pandemic era there just isn’t enough revenue or money in the budget to do it any other way.

“We had our budget immediately cut by $500,000 before the fiscal year even began,” Wiles said,” We returned over $250,000 in camp registrations due to the cancellation of our summer program.”

When park workers began to prepare the facility for the Morgantown Hockey Association they discovered the 10-year old ice making equipment was not working.

Specifically, the desiccant wheel, or rotary dehumidifier, chiller switch and valve are all bad.

“That $15,000 covers the chiller switch and valve for $3,000 and the dissecant wheel replacement and it will take about seven weeks,” said Danielle Trumble, BOPARC board member.

Wiles adds that the equipment was scheduled to be replaced during a multi-million dollar renovation that is now delayed due to COVID-19.

“The idea was to continue with this unit without replacing the wheel, just do our regular maintenance on it,” Wiles said,”Knowing we are going into a renovation phase.”

The Morgantown Hockey Association lists the ice arena as home to seven teams on their website from high school to 8-year-old and under leagues. Vice president of the association, Matthew Nelson was a guest on WAJR’s Talk of the Town and said participants are now road tripping to find time on the ice.

“We’re having kids travel to Connellsville, we’re having kids travel to Rostraver for practice,” Nelson said,” Those are about the only two ice rinks we can find that are affordable and within our budget.”

The BOPARC board will also ask Morgantown city council to restore some of the money cut early in pandemic, or at least $10,000 so the rink can open temporarily during the estimated seven week repair period.

“With this new delay until at least December, if they open at all,” Nelson said,” We’re in a situation where we have to start considering long term contracts with those rinks and once we enter those we can’t come back.”