The city of Roseville plans to begin $3.9 million in renovations to the Guidant John Rose Minnesota OVAL in the spring of 2021.
The bill was approved by the Minnesota House of Representatives as a part of the 2020 capital budget bonding bill on Oct. 14, and the Senate followed up with their approval the following day. Gov. Tim Walz signed the borrowing bill to fund public works projects on Wednesday.
The OVAL is currently the largest continuous outdoor sheet of refrigerated ice in North America at 110,000 square feet, and is both a training and competition center for amateur and professional athletes. Over the years, the OVAL has hosted events such as World Cup speedskating, world and national bandy championships, and aggressive skating and biking competitions. It has been up and running in the city of Roseville for 27 years.
The money will go toward refrigeration replacement, new pumping systems and a new structure around the rinks. The original request was filed in January 2019 after an in-depth conditions assessment.
The outdoor rink is open all year with a cooling system that has over 800 tons of refrigeration to help maintain the ice, even when temperatures climb into the 50s. In the spring, summer and fall, it becomes the largest skatepark in Minnesota.
“Many of the key components were nearing the end of their lifetime,” said Lonnie Brokke, the director of Parks and Recreation in Roseville.
The city is hoping to start renovations after the winter skating season, which typically ends at the beginning of March. They are aiming to be done by the end of 2021, but the work has the potential to be extended into the following year, according to Brokke.
When the pandemic hit, the OVAL closed for two months. Now, all of their programs are up and running, just with new safety regulations in place.
“We are really thankful for the support we’ve gotten,” Brokke said. “It’s the result of a long-standing relationship with the state of Minnesota.”