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.