Goal is to increase comfort, while protecting the facility’s infrastructure from rust caused by condensation

    In order to improve the off-season climate in the Crookston Sports Center’s Event Arena, which can get pretty stuffy, but also to ramp up efforts to protect the long-term health of the facility’s infrastructure, the Crookston City Council has green-lighted the installation of a dehumidification unit in the CSC’s main rink.

    The project comes on the heels of the installation of similar equipment in the CSC’s Blue Arena, which is home to most of the facility’s “off-season” hockey tournaments, held beyond the Crookston Parks and Recreation’s hockey and skating season from November to March.

    The $114,346 cost includes the unit itself and related equipment from Becker Arena Products, and the installation, which will be done by Proulx Refrigeration of Crookston. City Finance Director Angel Weasner says funding for the work will come from dollars remaining in the CSC’s original construction fund, which has a balance of around $160,000.

    City Administrator Shannon Stassen noted that the $114K price is especially favorable, given that $180,000 was budgeted for the project.

    The dehumidification of the Event Arena is partially about increasing comfort when off-season, non-ice events are held there, but in the bigger picture it’s about reducing the rust and other damage inflicted on the CSC’s infrastructure by condensation that comes with high humidity. The Event Arena unit will be larger than the one in the Blue Arena, Parks & Rec Director Scott Riopelle explained, and instead of being housed outside the facility like the Blue Arena unit, it will be installed in the mezzanine and the air will be piped out through the roof.

    Riopelle said he hopes installation can begin in November. As soon as it’s ready, he said the Event Arena dehumidification unit will start operating, and will come on as it determines that the humidity needs to be reduced. Although the humidity typically drops inside as it does outside when the colder months arrive, Riopelle noted that when water is poured and frozen into a sheet of ice in any of the CSC’s three rinks, it significantly increases the humidity throughout the building.

    “This will help with the longevity of the whole building,” Mayor Wayne Melbye said.

    Asked by Ward 6 Council Member Tom Vedbraaten if the Gold Arena should receive a similar unit, too, the mayor said that rink is home to ice for the shortest amount of time each hockey and skating season. It’s the last to have an ice sheet poured and the first one to have it melted. “But maybe we’ll look at that later,” Melbye added.

    Ward 4 Council Member Dennis Regan noted that rust is visible in certain areas of the CSC to anyone who walks around. And Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson added that the primary goal needs to be to secure the facility’s long-term future. “When you put ice in there it’s crazy; the whole arena fills with humidity,” he said. “We need to protect the long-term investment in that building. It needs this, I know that for sure.”