Due to more unforeseen events, the concrete is still waiting to be installed. We are now on schedule to have ice around the 21st of December, since the holidays are right around the corner from that date, we plan to have open curling when the ice is available and leagues will start at the beginning of the year. Due to the shorten timing we are fortunate to have a BRAND NEW facility that is capable of having ice all year round, so we do plan to extend the season into the spring to make up for some lost time.
We broke ground in April as planned and much of the construction has proceeded on schedule. The project is really broken into 2 major parts. Keller has managed all aspects of construction except for the Icehouse floor, refrigeration systems, and air systems. The Keller portion which is almost 80% of the project has amazingly had virtually no delays related to COVID. All walls are up and painted, drop ceilings are going in, floor treatments are beginning this week. They expect to formally turn the building over to us in mid-November. On the other hand, the Icehouse portion has been riddled with COVID related delays, the most challenging has been the need to change subcontractors for our concrete floor and then having to work around the new subcontractors already busy schedule. We had planned to begin Icehouse work in late July. That portion of the project just started last week. Still, we hope to close the schedule gap. The current schedule calls for us to pour the concrete floor at the end of October. The floor then needs 30 days to cure leaving us scheduled to make ice in the first week of December. The original plan was to have ice by October 15th, so the best case at this point is we are about 45 days behind schedule.
At the same time, we have had subcommittees working hard on everything else needed to start curling in our new facility…curling stones, other icehouse needs (circles, hacks, bumpers, curling surface, walkways, cameras, scoreboards), Ice Prep systems, lockers, kitchen equipment, bar design and build, bar equipment, liquor license, bar procedures, technology, security and clubhouse furnishings are all projects in the works.
This is a MAJOR project, but a labor of love for the board and all involved. We will have a facility that is extremely comfortable, functional, unique, and will provide a fantastic curling environment. We can’t wait for you to see the facility, if you have not already, and especially to start curling!
Just as we were finalizing facility design plans, securing subcontractors, and signing contracts in March, the potential impacts of COVID were becoming apparent creating much uncertainty. Given the extraordinary gift from Sentry, the support from the Village of Plover, and the state of construction plans, the board decided to move forward with the project. If we paused the project at that point, we risked losing the funding and costs would spiral. We literally took a leap of faith. We continued our fundraising efforts to close our $700,000 gap, but by April, it was clear that the environment had changed dramatically. Local foundations understandably made COVID related community needs priority over capital projects. Local businesses found their future clouded in financial uncertainty with many cutting back or even temporarily closing. We needed to shift gears and pursue financing. Our original plans called for only a $200,000 new facility loan from the USCA. Now we were in search of another $700,000 in loans in addition to securing the USCA loan. We were again blessed with strong members and community support. The Pineries Bank stepped forward right away and provided a $200,000 loan. The Village of Plover also responded to our COVID funding impact agreeing to a $500,000 mortgage against our building. We are still working to secure the originally planned loan through the USCA. The U.S. and World curling organizations who fund this loan have experienced heavy COVID impact with curling events and funding derived from those events in jeopardy. We are still hopeful this will come through but have a back-up plan in place from the Pineries to step-in if needed.
While we have been successful in securing the funds to fulfill our contractual commitments, we have also added a layer of new costs for our club to service the debt. Unfortunately, those costs will drive an increase in dues which we had not originally planned. Dues are further detailed below.
The Stevens Point Curling Club plans to build a dedicated ice facility that can support current programming and expand opportunities for youth, senior, and wheelchair curlers to participate in the sport. In addition to league curling, bonspiels, and championships, this expanded facility will offer the space needed to host special interest groups and school classes of all ages.
The Portage County Curling Facility will be located in Lake PacawaPark in the Village of Plover. The facility is a key component of the village’s long-term plan for the redevelopment of the park, which is nestled between Hoover Avenue South and Interstate 39. The location is easily accessible for all residents of Portage County and visitors to the area from greater Wisconsin and across the nation.
The approximately 20,000 square foot facility will feature four curling sheets, which will double the number of people who can currently curl at any given time. The design allows for an expansion of two additional sheets should be needed.
- wheelchair accessibility
- tiered "warm room" to optimize spectator viewing options
- professional-grade kitchen, with a fireplace, numerous tables, and comfortable sofas for socializing.
The space will also be available for use by other community organizations and for rentals during the spring and summer.
Benefits to the Community
A state-of-the-art, four-sheet curling facility in Portage County will:
- Improve Portage County quality of life by ensuring affordable access to a winter sport that can be played in all weather conditions.
- Meet the growing demand for interscholastic youth curling programs in area high schools and junior high schools, and promote curling to other youth groups/organizations.
- Improve access to winter sport for residents with developmental and physical challenges, including those requiring the use of wheelchairs.
- Attract more tourist dollars to Portage County through hosting larger multiple day curling tournaments, known as bonspiels, and national championships.
- Serve as an additional community facility to host non-profit groups and other activities to benefit Portage County.
- Enhance community pride with the addition of a first class facility in the heart of curling country.