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Locking down new lockers at Bielenberg sports center

Winter is coming so that means a lot of hockey at Bielenberg Sports Center.

Hockey teams will finally get the locker rooms they've been asking for at Bielenberg Sports Center now that an agreement to fund them is ready for approval.

South Washington County School District will help fund three locker rooms out of the 2006 bond referendum fund balance. The district will pitch in $275,000, according to Communications Director Barb Brown.

Hockey booster clubs have raised $45,000 to help with the construction of the locker rooms as well, said booster club member John Erickson.

But the total funding of $340,000 is still $20,000 short.

To bridge that gap, Woodbury Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt told City Council members at a workshop last week the city could also pitch in to build the locker rooms.

Instead of paying $2,000 to $3,000 annually to provide score keepers and other services during hockey games, the city will use that money to help construct the locker rooms, according to a city proposal.

"That money is an expense out of our budget to hire people to do that," Klatt said. "Through this arrangement, the booster clubs will provide volunteers that will do that so we no longer have to do that."

The annual savings in the city's operating budget will offset the additional expense to maintain the locker rooms.

"We have been talking about this for a number of years," Klatt said, adding that plans were developed but the money just wasn't there.

Score keepers, though provided on a volunteer basis, are needed for every game. The agreement says if they're not provided, hockey teams wouldn't get access to the locker rooms, Klatt said.

"You need someone to operate the clock and all of that, otherwise you can't play," he added.

The boosters and Bielenberg Sports Center staff have created a design that will not interfere with future expansion plans of the facility, according to the agreement.

City Council gave the impression last Wednesday that the agreement will officially be approved at their next regular meeting.

Booster club representatives said they're eager to start work on the locker rooms which may be ready as soon as the 2011 season hits.

"We're hoping that we'll be done in time for a portion of the high school season," Klatt said.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.