Put on your skates and look up. True, the ceiling isn’t normally the first thing you consider in an ice arena, but the fact is, it matters almost as much as the ice.
This week construction on a new ceiling began at the Lou and Gib Reese Ice Arena in Newark. This innovative project involves suspending aluminum-like fabric near the roof, which will reduce the heat load on the ice and cut energy usage so dramatically that the arena can expect a payback on the costs in two to three years. And the project aligns so well with Denison’s priorities that the college decided to help with a $20,000 contribution toward the cost.
“It’s good for our students, for the community, and for the environment,” says Seth Patton, vice president for finance and management, citing the rink’s youth programs and the value to Denison’s students in having access to such a well-managed facility so close to the campus.
Former history professor Bill Preston first helped to found the Denison hockey club in 1955 and over the years, Athens, Columbus, and Findlay have all served as home base for the team. But in the mid 1990s, the existing Newark arena was enclosed, and Denison hockey scored a new home.
Just in the last decade or so, Denison has partnered with the community on several projects of service to both local residents and the campus:
- In 1997, Denison helped the Granville Fire Department with the purchase of a new ladder truck, and the college also makes a yearly contribution to the department in recognition of the special services they provide during athletics events, commencement, etc.
- In the late 1990s, Denison partnered with Park National and local citizens to provide loans for the start-up of Kendal at Granville, a continuing care retirement community.
- In 2004, the college helped to fund the Denison Recycling Center for Licking County residents.
- In 2007, Denison joined with the Ohio Public Works Commission, Granville Township, the Licking Land Trust and Park National Bank to help purchase the old Spring Valley property as a perpetual-conservation property.
- And over the last three years, Denison has helped to install a flood monitoring system on Raccoon Creek and has supported the enhancement of a database and modeling of flood warning information to protect life and property.
So next time you go skating in Newark, look up and check out the ceiling–but only for a second, or you’ll crash into some inexplicably talented five-year-old who can spin like Kristi Yamaguchi.
The Denison Hockey Club practices at the Lou and Gib Reese Ice Arena in Newark: