EDWARDSVILLE – A highlight of the ongoing construction at the R.P. Lumber Center was on Dec. 21, when cement crews arrived to pour a concrete slab over the refrigeration piping that had been laid earlier in the month.
“That’ll take about 30 days to cure,” said Phil Zamora, the superintendent for the RP Lumber Center. “Guys can walk on it right now but after it cures, we’ll start adding the board and glass panels. Overall, there’s a little bit of everything going on right now.”
He said drywall is being added to the office areas of the center, painting is occurring above the rink and track and light fixtures arrived Thursday. Glass panels for the offices await installation, too. Outside, crews are leveling the site to prepare for future landscaping.
Approval was granted this week by the city council for Zamora to order fitness and exercise equipment, along with skate and a skate sharpener. He said the skate sizes will range from 6 Youth to 14 Adult and there will be separate skates for hockey and figure skating.
Framework for the bleachers will be installed starting next week along with more painting and drywall. At the end of January, Zamora said the center’s refrigeration unit will arrive, allowing them to begin cooling the concrete. Starting from a benchmark temperature, the concrete’s temperature will be lowered a degree each day until about 18 degrees.
“Sixteen to eighteen degrees is the ideal temperature to make ice and for the paint (blue lines, center ice graphics, goal net frames and more) to adhere to the ice,” he said.
He said the rink will have a seating capacity of 650 spectators. It will be open seven days a week, starting in May. The facility will open at 6 a.m. each day. The track and fitness center will close at 9 p.m. while the rink may be open for late ice activities until midnight, when the rest of the facility closes. The closest ice rinks to this one are located in East Alton and O’Fallon.
Residents of Edwardsville, Glen Carbon and Hamel will pay the same prices to use the rink since the other two communities contributed to the building’s construction. Zamora said anyone who lives with the District 7 school boundary will be considered a resident if they wish to use the facility. Everyone who lives outside District 7 will be considered non-residents and pay a different rate.
Zamora said those numbers have not been finalized yet. Memberships will include access to the fitness and teen center, too.
He said they have not received interest from any unexpected groups. Aside from the Edwardsville Tigers, local teams such as Twin Bridges Hockey plan to use the facility. He said they have not heard yet from SIUE but the rink is just across the university, tucked in behind Trace at the Parkway.
Zamora said besides hockey games and figure skating competitions, there will learn-to-skate sessions, youth and adult free skate times, birthday parties on the ice and more.
If you are interested in learning more about The RP Lumber Center or becoming a sponsor, contact the City of Edwardsville Parks and Recreation office at 618-692-7538 or visit the website at www.BuildtheCenter.com. Phil Zamora can also be reached at 618-307-1707 for facility rental and/or programming questions. E-mail inquiries can also be made to Thecenter@thecityofedwardsville.com.