Belle Plaine’s skating and hockey rinks are one step closer to changing locations from their current Market Street home to Hickory Park, after the city opened up the construction of a new skating complex.

A report presented by City Engineer Joseph Duncan at the Belle Plaine City Council meeting on Monday night, August 5, highlighted the fact that there is an August 15 bid date on the project. The results of the bid request will be reviewed at the upcoming August 19 council meeting.

The complex, as reported in the June 19 issue of the Herald, will include an ice skating rink, a hockey rink, a building to house the city’s Zamboni, a warming house, and restrooms.

City leaders have cited the ability to construct new buildings as the reason for relocating the rinks from school district-owned property.

The project currently has a substantial completion goal of early November, with interior building construction extending into December, according to Duncan’s report.

The movement of the rink, which has been on school district property for many years, is not coming as a great shock for the district, according to Belle Plaine Superintendent Ryan Laager.

“We don’t have an issue with it, and we weren’t asking for it,” Laager said.

The Market Street site was once talked about as a possible site for a new career and technical education building that could have also potentially housed a new stage for performing arts within the district. When asked if the movement of the rinks to Hickory Park was related to planning efforts to facilitate the potential project, Laager stated that was not the case. The school board tabled conversations about  constructing the multimillion dollar facility months ago, and Laager doesn’t believe the movement of the rinks is likely to reinvigorate those conversations, at least not in the near future.

“For right now, the conversation doesn’t really change,” Laager said. “We need the enrollment and students to be making the course requests [that would warrant needing additional career and technical education spaces]. It’s more about numbers and registration and what students are choosing to sign up for.”

Laager added that the vacated Market Street space will continue to be used for physical education and will serve as green space for the foreseeable future.

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