Soldotna opts for DIY with new flooring

The city of Soldotna has elected the ‘do-it-yourself’ fix to replace the damaged flooring used to cover the ice rink for events held at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

According to Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael’s proposal, his solution to replace the water damaged flooring will cost just under $28,000, in comparison to commercial ice rink covers which can cost anywhere from $130,000 to $200,000.

The council unanimously approved the ordinance allocating the funds for Carmichael to move forward with the flooring costs, which will cover 625 sheets of plywood, about 3,000 1×2 furring strips and 660 yards of carpet, in addition to carpeting the city already owns. Carmichael and his team will use these supplies to create an air space plywood flooring system that would be ready in time for the Taste of the Kenai on March 24.

“The price tag is significant,” said Interim City Manager Stephanie Queen. “But in terms of the events that we’re able to hold each year on top of the ice, we bring in about that much annually for the big events that occur. We’re about to do a quick turn around and do things like Taste of the Kenai, the fights and some of our bigger sports, rec and trade type shows. So, the revenue that the city earns from being able to do this pays off this investment rather quickly.”

Carmichael estimated the floors would last for six to eight years, but Carmichael said he didn’t expect the new system to experience water damage or warp, like the current system has.

“The last system was stacked and stored outside under tarps,” Carmichael said. “Indications are that this created a perfect storm whereby the insulation kept things cozy and the tarps held in any moisture presenting resulting in a hot house effect causing the water damage and warping. We now have a dry storage area in which the sheet good pieces can be stored.”

The new system will not be able to be driven on, Carmichael said, but the city works with several vendors that bring in their own equipment in that scenario. This is a trade-off that both Carmichael and the city seemed comfortable with while plans for a new field house addition to the Sports Complex are still up in the air.

“If we knew for sure the field house was a no-go the recommendation would be to heavily consider the more expensive commercial ice rink events cover as the rink would still be needed to accommodate the multitude of varied non ice events,” Carmichael said in a memo to city council. “That being said, though, if the field house is built, the need to use the rink when the ice is in will be almost eliminated. Thus, the lower cost hybrid system of air spaced plywood panels and additional 660 yards of carpet is recommended at this time.”

If the field house never becomes a reality, though, Carmichael said his department would be likely to request a sport court type surface to augment the airspace plywood system and allow for the city to host varied events and even events requiring a court like surface.

Council member Keith Baxter said that despite initial hesitation for the do-it-yourself method, the improved ambiance of carpeted flooring helped to sway him.

“I’m really excited to see carpet included,” Baxter said. “It’s going to make a big difference… I think due to the fact that we’ll be using carpet a little bit more under this proposal and that we may have something better coming in an expansion that (this option) is fiscally prudent.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at

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