Before the Tostrud Athletic Center opened in 2002, two ice rinks stood in its place. When the center was built, St. Olaf lost the rinks and broomball as an intramural sport, a "pretty big loss" according to Director of Intramural Sports Kevin Cook.
"There were almost 300 to 600 students using [broomball intramurals] per year between 1990 and 2002," he said. "It was a pretty popular program."
When Chris Stepan, the former director of intramural sports, and Director of Recreation Judy Stromayer learned last year that the Student Government Association (SGA) had a $100,000 surplus, they proposed building an ice rink to bring broomball back to intramural sports.
SGA passed the proposal and later passed a supplementary proposal asking for more funds when Stepan and Stromayer realized St. Olaf could purchase a bigger rink at a better cost.
The rink itself cost around $15,000, and the total project, including field preparation, walls, lighting, safety netting for the ends of the rink, broomball equipment and a warming hut or storage shed cost $24,500. SGA paid for the majority of the project, and the Pause and the department of facilities and grounds provided the rest of the needed funds.
The grounds crew of the department of facilities and grounds began building the rink on Nov. 21. Currently, the boards are assembled and the lights are installed.
A few more items, such as nets and a warming hut or storage shed, are still in progress. Stromayer predicts broomball will once again be an intramural sport by Jan. 3, weather permitting.
Cook says students are responding positively to the rink.
"Many people are excited about it and about getting teams together," he said. "Depending on how many teams are put together, we may play two nights a week, three nights a week, four nights a week we can play almost every single night with it."
Though Interim intramurals last only one month, Cook hopes to keep the rink open until mid-February to allow students who are off-campus during Interim to enjoy the rink. Intramural sports will have priority over the rink, but it will be available for student recreational use and students will be able to check out broomball equipment.
Students hoping to figure skate, however, may be disappointed. Cook said the ice, which will be flooded at least once a week by the Northfield Fire Department, will probably not be smooth enough for figure skating.
"When we had these rinks outside of Skoglund, they got flooded right off the building, he said. People flooded them every couple of days. Now, with the water source not being there, in order to make it a skate-able rink it would need to be flooded three or four times a week. I dont know if we have the funds for that.
However, the rinks location does have benefits. President of SGA Thomas Rusert 06 said, "I was surprised it [the rink] ended up in front of Ytterboe Hall they had talked about putting it up in the fields by Skoglund. But I really think it [the location] makes sense."