Ice skating rink ready for use

The new ice skating rink opened Jan. 14. Following selection at the annual Student Senate Think Tank event, the $4,500 rink was purchased and installed outside the Merillat Complex over the outdoor basketball court.

The new ice rink is near the softball field and tennis courts. (Photo by Matt Whitney)
The new ice rink is close to the softball field and tennis courts. (Photo by Matt Whitney)

Updated at 7:03 p.m. Jan. 17.

The new ice skating rink opened Jan. 14. Following selection at the annual Student Senate Think Tank event, the rink was purchased and installed outside the Merillat Complex over the outdoor basketball court.

The ice rink was originally envisioned last year, Ron Coffey, Ph.D., vice president for student life, said.

“The idea originally came up last winter, and we started researching portable ice rinks,” he said. “We didn’t have the time to pull it off last year for a number of reasons.”

The idea was submitted to the Think Tank competition by junior Tyson Kalischuk, senate treasurer. At Think Tank, Nov. 12, students submitted ideas for projects to improve campus with senate donating $700 to the winning idea. Students who attended Think Tank voted on their favorite idea.

Other proposals included a Foosball table for the Huntington Union Building and sets of dishes and baking pans for each residence hall. Senate did not approve ideas for a new sand volleyball court or a new parking lot by Miller/Meadows Hall.

The final cost of the ice skating rink is approximately $4,500, but Kalischuk is trying to raise $5,000 for unforeseen costs, he said. On top of the original $700, senate donated the remaining $3,800, senior Aron Tan, student body president, said.

“Senate voted to front the money for the ice rink, trusting Tyson’s confidence in raising the funds,” he said.

Kalischuk said he has raised $4,100 so far. He solicited donations from various student organizations on campus, receiving $1,000 from the Student Activities Board and $200 from the Multicultural Activities Council. The Student Life office donated $1,200.

President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., also gave $1,000 to the project.

“I’m confident we can raise the money for this and the exciting thing is that this not a school project, it’s a student project funded by students,” Kalischuk said.

He said he is seeking donations from the Fort Wayne Komets, a minor league hockey team, and another donor.

The ice rink will stay over the basketball courts during the winter months and senate is providing broom ball equipment. Ice skates will not be provided to students.

“I see this as an activity for all students,” Kalischuk said. “Everyone can enjoy it at least once.”

Junior Lauren Kirby said she will skate on the rink but said the cost of the rink may not have been worth it.

“I have my ice skates here with me so I’ll probably use the rink,” she said. “Is one person using it worth $5,000? That I’m not sure.”

Kirby said she did not know about the ice rink until she was asked about it.

“If this much money has been spent on a project, then I feel like I should know about it,” she said.

Sophomore Michaela Winger said she wishes a different idea had won Think Tank.

“I would rather they had built a sand volleyball court,” she said.

Kalischuck said the Huntington fire department filled the rink with water Jan. 12 so it can freeze before students are able to use it.

“The [ice skating rink] kit came with a hose attachment for resurfacing, but the closest hose outlet is 500 feet away,” he said. “Hoses are expensive and in the winter one would freeze if you used it outside.”

Kalischuk said students should pack snow into any grooves made by the ice skates until they can resurface the rink.

Senior Brian Menzie won last year’s Think Tank competition with his idea to renovate the 24-hour study room in the RichLyn Library. The renovations cost a little over $4,000 with money coming mainly from donations.

6 comments on “Ice skating rink ready for use

  1. Brooks Hooley

    So where was the budgeting in all of this?
    It’s kind of a head scratcher from the perspective of an alumnus who is constantly being bombarded by fundraising letters that THIS is what the money is being spent on.

    When I was at HU, my department had no full time professor, and some departments still only have adjuncts/student leaders etc.

    I get that budgets are given to every organization to spend separately, and that’s fine, but if they have so much extra money, shouldn’t we be putting it toward better things?

    Also, what about the maintenance of this bad boy? Is Tyson personally going to drive a Zamboni over it so that it doesn’t become a safety issue? Will this be in the hands of HU Maintenance for the long term? Do they have any experience taking care of an ice rink? How much will this cost hours wise?

    These are the things that make me pause and think before I give any more money to HU.


  2. So where was the budgeting in all of this? There has been a tremendous amount of budgeting and planning that has gone into this event. Each year students pay a student activity fee, that helps fund different organizations on campus. These organizations are designed to help support student initiates and improve campus experience. Each of these donors have felt that this project is attaining these things and clearly the students that were at the event thought that. The funds from the different organizations and donors are not funded by alumnus like your self.

    The ice rink will be maintained by myself and friends on campus. In the past week and a half, I have spent nearly 20 hours preparing and maintaining the rink. The rink will be continued to be in the hands of student senate, as a committee in senate looks over this project in the future. There will be very few dollars that will go into maintained, water expense and possibly a new liner. That is why we are attempting to raise more funds to help support this in the future.

    Your negativity towards this student initiative is somewhat offensive and exaggerated. I understand your concern for the $ and budgeting but I can assure you that the money is well spent. Campus events completely lead and support by students should not make you question your support for the university.

    As well, just to add to the article, there has been a great number of students on the ice so far this week.


  3. James Couchman

    I would firstly like to say, why are you so against the idea of the Ice rink? From your invidious remark it is obvious that you are against the rink and the budget in which it costs.

    In regard to the maintenance side of the Ice rink, like Tyson said “myself and friends on campus will help maintain the rink” so there is no need to worry about this. You mentioned in detail about “Tyson personally going to drive a Zamboni” without sounding this is an very unintelligent remark by someone graduated with a degree. It is obvious that our school would not throw away money on a Zamboni, I am sure hiring full time professors in your chosen degree path is more important financially so why try and be funny and state this. I know from the stress it has put on Tyson that there has been a lot of advanced planning and a tremendous amount of hard work put into the planning, budgeting, and building of the rink to benefit the lifestyle of the student body.

    Tyson has answered all the questions in which you have asked, so I would like to end with my opinion. I believe the Ice Rink is a great winter event for the HU campus; I personally used the rink 3 times in the last three days, and have seen a lot of people out there skating. I know the Ice rink is not for everyone, however for those that do choose to skate, and enjoy skating it is a lot of fun. After talking to other students and getting their opinion it is evident they like the idea of the Ice Rink. It is a great way to socialize with members of the student body, and have a good time.

    I do recommend however that you bring your skates down when you get some free time from your new working, busy lifestyle and have a great, fun time on the HU Ice rink.


  4. Brad Barber

    I have to second what Brooks said. There seems to be too many additional costs that this project has not planned for, which will eventually fall on the administration to shoulder. Tyson mentioned that he and his friends are cleaning the ice now, but who will clean it in the future? Establishing a committee to oversee it, as it seems like they have done (according to Tyson), does not ensure it will be kept up in the future. This just ensures that some students in the future will get stuck with this job, and they may not carry it out as diligently as it seems like Tyson is doing. But even if we give you maintenance, who will shoulder the insurance costs? The insurance company certainly should not like the idea of HU exposing itself to the liability that is an ice rink. Unless every student is signing comprehensive waivers of any potential claims before they use it (which are often overturned in court anyway), then HU is exposing itself to devastating liability and, consequently, higher insurance costs.

    If skating is really a worthwhile goal, then why not use the resources Huntington already has — the skate rink at the corner of Illinois and 24? (This skate rink might actually be closed — I have never been there, I just know it exists). It seems like a better solution to work a deal with an existing skate rink than to spend to install one at HU.

    However, I also agree with Brooks that there may be better uses of this money. This money is set aside for students (not staff), so I do not support the notion that it be used for staffing hires — although that is an area of need at HU. Better or newer books in the library, more improvements at the MPERC, more improvements to the kitchen areas in the residence halls, etc. There are many ideas that would be a better use of this money. Another DC TV would be a better use of this money.

    The moral of this story? When a competition suggests a budget of $700, it’s probably best to design a project that fits that budget constraint. Then, if more organizations jump in, you can increase the size to make an even bigger difference (see the study lounge idea).


  5. Leah Smith

    Okay I spent half of my life growing up inside an indoor ice rink. I quite skating competitively because when I moved to HU it was not feasible to drive back to fort Wayne for practice time. That being said, I know a thing or two about ice maintenance, care and safety.
    Question 1) what are these guys doing to maintain the ice? To resurface it? Do they actually know anything about it? “pack snow in the cracks for now” seriously? Have these people actually spent any amount of time at an ice rink more than once a year in the winter? Indeed this is safer than student so passionate about skating they attempt to go out on lake snow tip. (Never ever a good idea) but there is still a level of keeping the ice smooth so people aren’t falling and slicing each other open. Putting snow in to fill the holes and cracks isn’t going to fix anything and make it more dangerous because skaters won’t be able to see and avoid the hole.
    Question 2) falls along the same lines as what Brad Barber said about future maintenance. Are they spending all of these donor resources for something that will maybe only be around for a couple of years while the students who rallied for it are still there? Im with Brooks that if I had known their were so many people willing to donate to the school I q would have lobbied for actual education to happen in my major while I was there. Instead of student leaders and a part time teacher who didn’t show up half the time.
    I think it is really impressive that this student was able to gain so many donations for this project but I think it was focused at the wrong priority.
    Question 3) liability. Is there any kind of liability agreement with the university if someone hurts themselves? Hurts someone else? Are students parents going to be suing the school for providing a not safe ice surface to skate on? Ice monitors to make sure “broom hockey” doesn’t get rough? I think they are being EXTREMELY non logical in having this event with the komets and providing “broom hockey” equipment. They should not be encouraging It at all unless they had an ice monitor. If they still had the pool they would have a life guard correct? Dames rules apply. Inexperienced skaters can cause great danger to themselves and others. Had a stick and competition to the mix and you are just begging for trouble.
    I understand better than anyone that ice skating is very different from roller skating so I understand wanting to do something different from the roller skating rinks in town but it seems to me this was not very well thought out. Its exciting. I understand that. But I do not believe any of them know what they are doing.


  6. John Ripke

    Dont most ice rinks have at least a 3 or 4 foot wall keeping people in the rink and not having them fall out? That “small” wall they have does not look safe for inexperienced skaters.

    I just cant see this being kept up the way it should. I LOVE the idea and am not sure what equipment is being used but without a Zamboni or other equipment of the sort, I just see this as something that is going to cost way too much in the future.


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