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Adding a third ice rink to Bismarck’s VFW Sports Center will cost millions more than anticipated.

The Bismarck Parks and Recreation District recently approved nearly $15. 8 million of base offers for the additional ice sheet. Including architectural and consultant fees, the total for the rink comes to about $16. 6 million — an increase of about $5 million over the initial estimate.

Parks and Recreation Executive Director Kevin Klipfel told the Tribune that the approved bids also cover renovations to the current facility and a parking lot expansion. He said a cost estimate for relocating the  Sheila Schafer Junior Links course to make way for the additional rink was not immediately available. Relocating the course was projected to cost about $2 million in November.

The park district does not plan to raise the mill levy in its 2023 budget to make up the cost increase but will instead continue fundraising and looking to sell naming rights. The bulk of the project will be funded by bonds.  

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Bismarck Public Schools has made a $3. 5 mil donation, and the Bismarck hockey boosters pledged $1 million to the project.  

The recreation area district’s initial plan was to  use about $1. 4 million in general fund reserves, $6. 35 million in revenue bonds and $2. 75 million from grants, naming rights proceeds or other sources.   Klipfel said now that the prices for bids have been awarded, the district will schedule out payments to  determine the timing and exact amount of the particular bonds to be sold.   The final financing schedule is expected to be completed over the next several weeks.

The district’s goal is to have the project  completed by fall 2023.

Multi Use Facility VFW Sports Center

The Bismarck Parks plus Recreation District and Bismarck Public Schools are teaming up to add a third ice rink (shown in yellow) to the  VFW Sports activities Center. Planned new parking areas are shown in white at top center and to the upper right.

The new rink is a response to the need of more ice time in the community. Last year the school board approved a boys hockey team at Legacy High School for the 2021-22 school year and  the girls hockey team for the 2022-23 school year.

The Bismarck Park Board voted 4-1 on July 21 to approve the bids.   Commissioner Mark Zimmerman voted against it, saying the board should give it more consideration. He also suggested having more discussions with the project’s partners.

“It’s just not right, ” he said. “If we really need this third sheet of ice and the costs are that much more, you’ve got to step up to the plate and not burden, in my opinion, the park area now with an additional $5 million in debt when there are many other projects we could do without raising our debt. If you really want this, let’s figure it out. ”

Commissioner Wayne Munson said that while the increase also “scares the daylights” out of him, he feels that Bismarck needs the rink sooner than later.

“We have a community that is asking already when we’re planning the next sheet and we don’t even have this approved yet, ” Munson said.   “I have to put my faith in the user groups and the school district to step up and help because at the end of the day, as a community, our job is to find ways for our residents to recreate. This is one of them. ”

Northwest Contracting Inc. won the general construction bid for about $9. 5 mil; H. A. Thompson & Sons Inc. won the mechanical construction bid for about $2. 2 million; Edling Electric Inc. won the particular electrical construction bid for approximately $1. 3 million; plus CIMCO won the refrigeration bid for about $2. eight million.

Reach Alex Kautzman at  701-250-8255  or alexandra. [email protected] com .

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