The next critical step in adding an ice hockey rink to the Lancerlot Sports Complex in Vinton took place on August 2 when the concrete was poured for the rink. That keeps the project on track for a mid-September opening for the ice rink. One of its first scheduled events is the Virginia Tech hockey game against Richmond on September 21.
Lloyd Concrete Services of Rustburg did the concrete work, pouring a layer about five inches deep, (approximately 268 cubic yards of concrete), beginning at about 5 a.m. and ending about 4 p.m. Other workers were there until about 10 p.m. finishing up.
The concrete will take about 28 days to cure. Then the sheet of ice can be built on top. General Manager Joe Miller says that the ice process is in fact more of a misting process than a flooding process. The ice will be about three-fourths to an inch thick when finished and painted white.
Lionberger Construction of Roanoke is the general contractor for the Lancerlot renovation project that involves the entire facility. Everything Ice from Johnstown, Pa., is the subcontractor for the ice rink— it also did the Berglund Center ice a couple of years ago. In its 30 years in business, Everything Ice has installed approximately 900 ice rinks, in addition to installing a skating track for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, curling facilities, and indoor figure skating rinks.
The company takes pride in providing indoor ice facilities because those tend to become “the core of local communities” and “provide endless recreational opportunities for youth and adults.” That’s exactly what the new Lancerlot owners have in mind.
Check out the Everything Ice Facebook page for a fascinating video on the process of making and painting ice that demonstrates that “making ice is an art.”
Everything Ice subcontracted the concrete work to Lloyd Concrete Services, which brought in a large crew of about 40 workers on August 2 to get the job done. Lloyd Concrete is a family-owned business, which includes Steve Lloyd, his wife Kathy (president of the company) and three children.
Lloyd Concrete projects include the Liberty University football stadium and the D-Day Memorial. It has been in business since 1985.
The layer of concrete covers over about 11 miles of previously installed glycol pipes which contain the coolant to make the ice possible. Screed machinery was in use leveling the concrete as it was poured throughout the morning along with some leveling done with hand tools. The atmosphere was far from chilly in the future ice rink during the concrete pouring but according to the contractors, “humidity is your friend” when pouring concrete.
Once the concrete cures, the chiller will be turned on to freeze the ice in the misting process that takes two to four days to complete, at temperatures down to minus 1 to minus 7 degrees.
Miller describes this as a critical step as well, and a “very deliberate process.” A couple of thin layers (about 2 cm) of ice are put down, then the ice is painted white (with a mixture of water and special powdered paint) so that hockey markings, and team and sponsor logos can be painted on. Then the rink is topped off with more layers of ice.
Once that is finished, the dasher board system will be installed, serving both as part of the game and protection for spectators. The system includes the ice dam, dasher boards, stanchions, Plexiglass, and hardware.
Miller says that everything that will be needed for the ice hockey season to get under way has been ordered— scoreboards, flags, lights, and countless other items.
While the concrete is curing, work will continue on painting and installation of the locker rooms, pro shop, concession area, office space, a rental area, and a party area in the now-adjoining annex building. The annex serves as the garage for the Olympia ice-resurfacing machine— purchased from the renowned Boston Bruins— as well as storage and offices above in addition to the party room.
The Lancerlot’s addition of a second sheet of ice in Virginia’s Blue Ridge will provide an additional practice location for Roanoke’s professional hockey team, the Rail Yard Dawgs, as well as serve as a primary practice and game location for several local collegiate club hockey teams and offer the region the ability to host hockey tournaments and skating competitions.
The facility will also be reestablished as a base of operations for Valley Youth Hockey Association as well as the RVAHA and the RNCHL, both adult hockey associations. The second sheet of ice will also provide additional opportunities for adult recreational hockey, public ice skating and recreational figure skating.