TROY — Approximately one year ago, Troy City Council OK’d the $9.6 million Hobart Arena renovation and expansion project to make the arena more accessible and inviting to the community and its visitors from around the region.
According to Hobart Arena Director Ken Siler, the bulk of the renovation and expansion will be complete by the end of the month.
While the majority of the project will be complete, the redesign of the arena’s front lobby will take an additional month to finish.
As part of the city’s Riverfront Development projects, Hobart Arena’s renovation added 50 percent to the current square footage and redesigned the corridor and its amenities of the arena.
“We tripled the amount of fixtures in the building,” Siler said. “All new lighting in the corridor, lighting over the concession areas. That’s the case over the main floor. The amount of lighting is significantly better.”
Public skating, hockey and figure skating have been filling the arena’s ice time since September. Siler said once the entire project is complete, the arena will host an open house for the community to tour the arena.
Next month, the arena will see its renovation come to life, hosting three events — two concerts and a cheerleading competition — mid-February.
New skate resistant rubberized flooring, lighting, and features round out the arena’s original corridor. The renovation removed storage and office spaces from under the stairs of the arena to widen access to improve pedestrian flow, improved and expanded restroom facilities and concession stand access.
“We widened the corners, all of (under the arena seating) was storage,” Siler shared last week. “We opened up the areas underneath the seats where it was storage. We’ll put high top tables in these areas for people to stand and hang out so they aren’t in the traffic flow.”
The expansion tripled the number of restrooms, added a full-service kitchen, and concessions to the four corners of the arena. Additional ticketing, locker rooms with shower and rest room facilities and “back of house” space where acts can offer meet-and-greets before they perform were also part of the project.
On Tuesday, Troy City Council approved to name the new multi-purpose room the “Lucia and Robert Bravo Room” or “Bravo Room” for short. The open room can be divided into two spaces and features access from Adams Street. The Bravos, who are deceased, donated more than $1 million in 1995 to help renovate and update Hobart Arena beginning in 1997.
Last week, the four new concession stands and full-service kitchen were being outfitted with ovens, dishwashers and other appliances — all Hobart Corporation’s family brand of commercial kitchen appliances, of course.
“We put a concession stand in all the corners. We really only had one food concession stand. We combined the food and the alcohol together. Everything will be sold at the same stands. They’ll be in each quarter of the building so people won’t have to walk half-way around the building to get food,” Siler said.
The expanded south lobby, with three doors from its original one door, mimics the arena’s front lobby with box offices and a recreation department office for shelter reservations and program registrations. The south lobby also features the skate rental shop for public skating participants.
The Troy Hall of Fame display will be located by the south lobby, Siler said.
While the rink and seat areas in the arena were untouched, new lighting and the catwalk above the arena received upgrades. The new lighting brightens up the arena floor, while the new scoreboards and video boards are also visible upgrades to the interior of the arena.
The south lobby also features a smaller space or “party room” which can seat up to 20 people. Rental fees were approved for $200 per two-hour skating session, including admission and skate rental for up to 15 children under the age of 14 and the use of the party room. Additional fees, including beverage and food service, are also available.
“We do get a lot of requests during public skating for birthday parties, but we just never had that space to be able to accommodate in that manner,” Siler said. “Now we’ve been getting so many requests for parties — so this space will be used a lot.”
Once the front lobby is complete, the arena will once again open its doors for walkers to enjoy an indoor stroll, beginning in February.
For more information about events and skating schedules at Hobart Arena, visit www.hobartarena.com.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews