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Viewpoint: Rededication of Polar Arena

From left, Front row: Bill Halbrehder, Mike Boland, Becky Neve, Christine Osorio, Leon Lillie; Back row: Brad Martinson, Randy Anderson, Michelle Yener, Greg Nelson, Chuck Wiger, Caleb Anderson. Submitted photo

By District 622 Superintendent Christine Osorio

On March 3, elected officials, members of the community, and district leaders gathered at Polar Ice Arena (2444 11th Ave. N.) for a unique rededication ceremony.

Recently, District 622 received a $400,000 Mighty Ducks grant from the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission to refurbish the arena. Funds from the grant award, in coordination with deferred maintenance dollars from the district, were used for three main upgrades.

First, the refrigeration system was changed from Freon 22 to ammonia refrigerant. With this conversion, we also replaced the arena floor with concrete (formerly a sand base). The new floor will allow Polar Arena to be more versatile. In addition, all of the lighting in the arena was converted to LED.

In addition to community use, Polar Arena is used as an extension of North High for various opportunities for students. The rink is used as a teaching station where students gain on-ice experience with various sports.

Opened in 1969, Polar Arena was paid for and constructed by many community volunteers. Thanks to this effort, this 500-seat arena continues to be home to many users, including: North High Boys' and Girls' hockey programs (the girls program is merged with Tartan High School), Johnson/Como/North St. Paul Youth Hockey Association, Maplewood Figure Skating Club/North Star Skate School, many adult hockey groups, and open skating.

Polar Arena is a great example of how community support turned an idea into reality. Decades later, the North St. Paul area continues to enjoy the outcome of the efforts of so many invested parents, residents, and district employees. As is still the case, community partners are key to our success as a district.

In addition to Polar Arena, District 622 owns and operates a second indoor skating rink. Tartan Arena, located in Oakdale, is well-known and popular, thanks to its two-sheet facility.

For available ice time at either Polar Arena or Tartan Arena, visit www.rinkfinder.com.

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