Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar spends $300,000 to renovate ice rink

OLDSMAR — One hundred-fifty tons of sand, 1,200 sheets of insulation and 11 miles of steel pipes carrying R-22 refrigerant — all buried below the surface of the ice.

Keeping it cool is what it's all about as Tampa Bay Skating Academy prepares to unveil its newly renovated north rink, one of two NHL regulation-size rinks at 255 Forest Lakes Blvd.

The transformation began June 27 and the big reveal is slated for Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day. The north rink originally opened in 1995. While it's been ripped up, skaters have been sharing the south rink during summer, when usage is down.

"It'll be all good and new," said Diane Paul, the rink's marketing director. "It will make for much smoother ice and skating."

The renovations will cost more than $300,000, officials said. TBSA, owned and operated by FLG Pinellas, otherwise known as the Fun League Group, hired Ice Builders of Syracuse, N.Y., to oversee the makeover.

Besides a much-improved skating surface, there will be new rubber matting around the perimeter of the 200- by 85-foot rink, freshly painted deep blue walls, porcelain tile in the shower rooms and other touches.

According to rink manager Glyn Jones, the renovation was necessary because a subfloor heating system wasn't operating correctly, affecting the ice above.

"The ground was freezing and it made the ice heave. It was popping up and the surface was uneven," he said.

Two miles of polyvinyl chloride pipes that carry glycol (antifreeze) were installed and covered with two layers of insulation. After that, steel cooling pipes carrying the refrigerant were put back in place and secured. Sand will be packed between the pipes and saturated with water.

"Then we turn on the refrigeration system and it freezes like concrete," Jones said. "We build up the ice from there to between 11/4 to 11/2 inches thick."

Parents and other spectators will have a better view as they watch from the bleachers, the skating academy says. New tempered glass will surround the rink, replacing the plexiglass that can obscure views with scratches and condensation buildup.

In addition to the current renovations, the south rink received some repair work to its subfloor heating system last summer.

And two years ago, the facility purchased all-electric Icecat resurfacing machines, which produce no emissions.

The rink came under scrutiny in March 2009 when an ESPN crew tested the air and reported high levels of ultrafine pollution particles they said could settle deeply into the lungs and cause health problems. Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide were reported safe on the day tested. Older resurfacing machines were said to be the culprit.

TBSA was one of 34 ice skating rinks tested across the country.

Earlier that year, members of an East Lake hockey team got sick after a practice and complained of nausea and breathing problems. Two coughed up blood.

Rink officials have denied that the incident was related to their former resurfacing equipment, which ran on propane. Jones said no other incidents have been reported to him since, and he said he knows of no way to test for ultrafine pollutants.

"It might have been a cold virus going around the team," he said, noting that skaters on the ice before and after never complained of symptoms.

Paul said the electric machines were on order to replace the propane-powered machines before the ESPN report came out.

"The important part is, we are a unique part of the community and are very proud of what we do here," she said. "We are very conscientious. The air quality was tested daily before the ESPN report and is still tested daily."

Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

Tampa Bay Skating Academy

Where: 255 Forest Lakes Blvd., Oldsmar

Hours: Call or check website for public skating times

Cost: Adult admission $8, child admission $7, skate rental $3.50

Info: (813) 854-4010 or

funleaguegroup.com

Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar spends $300,000 to renovate ice rink 08/23/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 7:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Who's best global airline? Qatar Airways takes No. 1 spot but Delta tops U.S. carriers

    Airlines

    The good news? Delta Airlines tops all U.S. airlines in a new Skytrax global airline passenger satisfaction survey of the world's best airlines. The bad news? At No. 32, Delta still ranks behind dozens of Middle East, Asian and some European airlines. For Tampa International Airport and the major airlines that operate …

    Southwest Airlines, the biggest carrier at Tampa International Airport, improved its customer satisfaction rating among global airlines in a recent survey.
[Times file photo]
  2. Vinoy resort will ask St. Petersburg voters to approve new parking garage (with tennis courts on top)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is undergoing a $50 million redevelopment and part of that plan calls for building a new one-story parking garage over eight existing tennis courts.

    The Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club is undergoing a $50 million redevelopment. The Vinoy wants to build a one-story parking garage as part of that project, in place of eight existing tennis courts. The tennis courts would be moved on top of the garage, which would hold 270 parking spots. But the Vinoy needs St. Petersburg voters to approve the project in a November referendum. This is an artists' rendering of the new garage from the street. [Courtesy of Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club]
  3. House committee passes Florida-sponsored flood insurance bill

    Banking

    The House Financial Services Committee pushed through a Florida-sponsored bill intended to cut flood insurance costs. If passed, the bipartisan bill would help create a marketplace for private flood insurance.

    A House committee passed a Florida-sponsored bill meant to lower flood insurance rates.
[Times file photo]
  4. 3 new restaurants open: Deccan Spice Indian food, Farmacy Vegan Kitchen, the Cake Shop

    Food & Dining

    DECCAN SPICE

    Deccan Spice has opened at 2325 Ulmerton Road, in what used to be the elegant and vast Grand Siam space in Feather Sound. It's getting high marks so far for its traditional Indian lunch buffet, and offers a range of southern Indian dishes (vadas and dosas and idlis, oh my) seldom seen …

    Farmacy Vegan Kitchen + Bakery serves wraps, acai bowls, smoothies and juices and plant-based baked goods like strawberry cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Charles Rumph.
  5. The driver who died in a Tesla crash in Florida using Autopilot ignored 7 safety warnings

    Autos

    When Joshua Brown's Tesla slammed into the side of a tractor-trailer last year at more than 70 miles per hour, the fatal accident became the world's first known car crash involving a partly autonomous vehicle.

    Tesla requires its drivers to keep their hands on the wheel even when Autopilot is engaged. A crash in Florida showed that the driver was warned to keep his hands on the steering wheel.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) TXTG101