Ice Skating Training Facilities

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Rink Feasibility Studies

A Feasibility Study requires "Due Diligence" on the part of the Preparers
       The Feasibility Study is the first and most crucial step necessary to own and operate a profitable Ice Skating and/or Multi-Sport business.  The feasibility report can vary in length depending on the size, scope, and complexity of the project's specific requirements.

       A typical study is approximately 70 pages in content and is very comprehensive because it is prepared to be used as a guide to fund and construct the project. The time span from acceptance to proceed, to completion of the Study, will be 5 to 15 weeks for a professional consulting firm to months, even years, if undertaken by a community organization consisting of volunteers serving on multiple committees. 

       Private consultants can charge from $15,000 to $250,000 for a study with additional fees for preliminary engineering and architectural drawings, plus scale models of site plans with facility renderings.  The creation of working drawings be require additional fees as part of the process for permit approval and putting the project out for bids.

       A feasibility study's purpose is to predict the relative success and possibility of not achieving projected revenue streams one, five, ten, twenty, and thirty years out.  Many external factors such as wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, 100 year floods, and other natural disasters, can not be accurately predicted and factored into the study except for avoiding construction in known earth quake fault zones and 25, 50, and 100 year flood plains.

       Expansion of a proven business model is the most reliable study as it is based on a specific number of years of managerial experience and financial records.  A brand new startup enterprise is much more difficult to sell to lenders, especially if there is no one on board who has a track record in building and managing a successful rink operation.

       Ideally a demographic analysis is performed to determine the number of potential clients in various age and income groups that would be likely to patronize the new facility with its higher construction debt and operating expenses.

       Land is a major long term cost of any project.  Some projects include acquiring the land title free and clear and then using the land as collateral for the construction loan. Other projects use the long term  (30 to 50 years) lease concept with the land owner building the facility to specifications. The lease holder fronts the money for all of the operating equipment and installation necessary to operate the business.

       Power, liability and disability insurance, plus labor and related fringe benefit expenses - sick days, health insurance, vacation days, and retirement plans - form the "nut" of a rink's operational expenses.  Maintenance should not be ignored and a depreciation fund should be funded and not just used as a tax write-off.

Demand Analysis
       To insure success, start with the feasibility study that studies the supply and demand conditions of local existing ice rink facilities and programs to determine what works and what can be improved as well as avoided in the new venture.

       Every rink fills its time with as much guaranteed revenue as it can schedule. This means that rink activities start at 5:00 a.m. each day and may continue through to midnight. In some cities, like Las Vegas and major hockey/figure skating training centers, there may be people whose schedules allow them to fill midnight to 5:00 a.m.

       From the time from after young skaters go to school until their schedule allows them to skate in the afternoon is very light. Some rinks sponsor "coffee clubs" during the weekdays. Other rinks have made considerable  progress in securing cooperation of local school districts to provide flexible schedules and Physical Education credit for time spent in training at the skating rink.

       In some cases the rink, figure skating clubs, and hockey leagues can cooperate to sponsor school hockey and figure skating teams that compete with other school skating teams.  There can be problems concerning the question of who pays for the expenses of ice time, lessons, equipment, coaching, and travel even when the parents pick up the entire cost because skater's whose parents lack the resources may be excluded.  There was limited local funding for sports prior to the economic downturn.

       In 2010, existing varsity and junior varsity sports of football, basket ball, baseball, and track & field tend to have a lock on what funding is available. As these are typically male sports, it may be necessary to remind school administrators about the equality for female athletes is required under Title IX.

       Another possibility is to become proactive and support a local charter school housed at the rink to support all skaters and curlers with a strong academic program that encourages an athlete's training and preparation to enter a college or university of their choice with a scholarship.

       The key to profitability is to first attract new customers and teach them how to skate through "Learn to Skate" basic skills classes.  These classes are heavily slanted towards having fun and less about gaining technical skills.  An intermediate process is necessary to gradually inspire these skaters to acquire more technical skating skills to transfer into the advanced skating required to succeed in speed, hockey, and figure skating Refer to Transferable Skating Skills.

       Rink management needs to encourage a positive skating environment that continues to offer and promote group classes as this is the most affordable way for beginning skaters to progress. This may occur over multiple years (2 to 4 years) depending on the number of hours the skater is enrolled in classes and practicing on a weekly basis.

       At some point in taking group lessons the instructors should encourage the parents to purchase a properly fitted pair of boots that provide the necessary support and are equipped with well designed and properly mounted blades.  The availability of a well stocked Sports Shop on site, with a generous schedule of open hours, plus an experienced staff can do a lot to facilitate the skater continuing to make progress.

       When skaters are in the Intermediate phase of group classes, it may be appropriate for instructors to mention that the skater is falling behind and perhaps a private lesson might be beneficial. Sometimes the skaters are very anxious to make more progress and feel frustrated at their class level.  The instructor may suggest to parents that with a few private lessons he/she could qualify to be transferred to a more advanced group class.  The motivation of the instructor to challenge the aspiring skater while preventing their acquiring bad technical habits should be applauded, but not if the intention is to take the skater out of the group class program by converting them into only private lessons.

Revenue and Expense Analysis
       Such financial statements should have an appendix that show the calculations used to project the revenues and expenses. For example, the energy expenses for gas should be given in therms and kilowatt hours to allow the amounts to be converted into local pricing structure. The same type of analysis would be used to project revenues from public session admissions, skate, and locker rentals.

       Snack bar proceeds would be projected by the type and time of session and estimates of the number of skaters and parents who stay after bring their child to the rink.

       Prepare an hourly schedule of all of the sessions for an average week day and weekend, plus school and national holiday schedules, hockey games, figure skating competitions, speed skating races, and curling meets. The number of skaters should be estimated using a assumption that skaters will enroll in prepaid contracts to reduce the cost per session, not a high walk-in price. 

       Revenues from ice sales will vary according by month with skaters tending to take some time off during the Christmas and New Year holidays, for family vacation trips, and for rest/recovery after a competition season ends.

       The revenue per hour will vary according to the type, skill level, and average age of the skaters. Typically a 5:00 a.m. session will not attract as many skaters as a 5:00 p.m. session.  More young, beginning skaters can be accommodated on a session than elite junior and senior figure skaters. Fewer junior and senior pair and dance teams can work on their free skating or free dance programs because of the power of their skating and the difficulty of the elements they perform. 

       A set pattern dance session can accommodate more couples and competitive teams per session, although some popular dances may have to have two flights. A dance session can accommodate more teams than solo dancers.

Feasibility Study Check List:
       A feasibility study of the proposed development provides prospective rink owners with the opportunity to review and analyze the ice facility as proposed. The following tasks should be performed as part of the report:
  • Summary Analysis
  • Detailed Explanation of the Process from inception through opening facility
    • Consulting Phase
    • Construction Phase
    • Finishing Phase
    • Operational Phase
  • Detailed Breakdown of Responsibilities of Parties
  • Breakdown of Phases with projected Time Schedules
  • Competition Review
  • Detailed Demographics of Market Area
    • Comparative Utilization Hockey/Figure Skating Demographics
    • Expanded Sources of Income
  • Preparation of Sample Construction Costs Versus Building Delivered
  • Sample Schedules
    • Income Categories with associated revenues based on sample schedule
    • Operating Expenses based on sample schedule and historical data
    • Suggested Ice time Schedules
      • Suggested Employee Work Schedules
      • Pro-Forma Based On Above Schedules
  • Financial Summary
    • Cash Flow Modules Based On Five Levels of Financing at Three Different Financing Rates
    • Model Assumptionsi including projected tax benefits and write-offs
    • Program Growth Strategies
    • High Projections – Low Projections
    • Detailed Employee Breakdown By Position
      • Salary Breakdown
      • Fringe benefits - health insurance, sick pay, job related disability/injury, vacations, retirement
  • Site visit(s) to success rinks with meetings and discussions
  • Visit(s) to proposed site 
  • Preliminary Site Review with Conceptual Location of Structure
If the location is suitable the next step is to perform an expanded feasibility which would include:
  • Detailed Demographic Study comparing proposed site to nearby USHL and NAJL team cities
  • Analysis of Cost Structure to building out the project in stages
  • Analyze Financial Incentives with organized high school and college hockey, curling, figure and speed skating programs
  • Revise Programming Plan for development of hockey, curling, figure and speed skating programs
  • Revise Scheduling Plan to include hockey, curling, figure and speed skating programs
  • Analyze Competing Structure for multipurpose activities based on interpretation of real data as it relates to the sport recreational / entertainment industry.
  • Engage in meetings with representatives of school, park & recreation departments and city officials regarding support for project
  • Compare Existing Minor League Programs
  • Analyze Sponsorship Opportunities
  • Determine if there is a possibility to sell "naming rights"
  • Determine if there is a possibility for the city to float a low interest "bond" to purchase property with the facility promoters signing a long term lease back agreement.
Example of feasibility studies:
  • PDF Developing a Community-Based Ice Arena architectural/engineering firm with experience in both ice arena feasibility studies and design or a firm specializing in feasibility studies for ice rinks and arenas.
  • Jamestown Ice Arena Project The first study concluded that the ice arena would be feasible if not required to generate enough income to cover debt service.
       The following is not an exhaustive list of organizations that have or are in the process of seeking private venture capital, member based organization, and/or support from local, state, and/or federal funding to construct park and recreation or high school, college, or university skating facilities.
  • The Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association (GSBISA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a goal of promoting skating related sports and recreation.  There has long been a need for family oriented activities in Santa Barbara County.  GSBISA hopes to help remedy that by building a community ice skating arena for all ages to enjoy.
The Project
     GSBISA was formed to bring a broad range of skating-related activities to the Santa Barbara community, and has launched an $8 million dollar fundraising campaign for the development of the only ice skating facility between Oxnard and San Jose.  Located in Goleta, near Girsh Park, the Camino Real Marketplace, and UC Santa Barbara this state-of-the-art venue will provide year-round recreation for people of all ages.  User fees will cover operating costs, and a scholarship program is planned to ensure no youth is denied the opportunity to participate.

NON-PROFIT GROUP SECURES LAND DONATION FOR ICE SKATING ARENA  FOR ICE SKATING ARENA AT GIRSH PARK IN GOLETA   A community group is working towards building a permanent ice skating rink in Goleta. They have funded a feasibility study and conducted research to develop a workable financial model.

Ice in Paradise Project Lands Property for Skating Rink
Camino Real Marketplace developer donates 1.3 acres at Girsh Park for facility
The coolest recreation facility between Oxnard and San Jose took a major step closer to reality Friday with the formal donation of land to house what will become a state-of-the-art ice rink in Goleta.

Mark Linehan and Kimberly Schizas, principals of Wynmark Co., developer of  Camino Real Marketplace across the street, for donating the 1.3-acre property for the facility. The concept for the rink has been around since the mid-1990s. Over the past few years, GSBISA members commissioned a feasibility study and conducted research to develop a workable model for the project. Officials say the rink will be a permanent asset within the community for generations to come.

The Santa Barbara Independent Goleta Ice Rink Skates Closer to ...
March 3, 2010 ... Birds eye view of ice skating arena planed for Girsh Park in Goleta. ... “We have the demographics to support it.  Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace mall’s developer, Mark Linehan, has donated the designated patch of land, near Storke Road, to the Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association (GSBISA). With the building owned and operated by a nonprofit, we can keep all the user fees down and still cover the costs, explained Kathy Mintzer of the GSBISA, which has raised a little more than $2 million since it was founded in 2003 but needs another $4 million to start building. “This is the time when we really need the community to get behind us.”

                         David VanHoy Architect and Blackbird Architects


  1. Park and Recreation owned and operated community rinks
  2. Church Owned and Operated Community Centers
  3. Private Membership Skating Clubs
  4. Privately Owned Rinks Open to Public
  1. Market Analysis Summary
  2. Amenities and Services
  3. Naming Rights
  4. Strategy and Implementation Summary
  5. School and Community Programs & Activities
  6. Charter Schools
  7. Competitive & Recreation Athletes Health & Wellness Services
  8. Management Summary
  9. Job Descriptions
  10. Financial Plan
  11. Ice Rink Executive Summary
  • Historical References:
Facility References:
  • Bowling Green State University announces ice arena and hockey feasibility study that is a step toward a campaign to secure funding for an arena. Initial recommendations from working groups have set in motion a fund raising plan.
     BOWLING GREEN, —Bowling Green State University will take the next step in the review of its Ice Arena and hockey program with a feasibility study to gauge interest and capacity for a fund-raising campaign.

     BGSU President Carol Cartwright announced that the University has engaged Bentz Whaley Flessner, a national fund-raising consulting firm, to assess the potential for funding that could be raised by a campaign.
  • Plymouth State University began construction this week on a new ice arena, Plymouth State University officials announced today. The Ice Arena will cost $16.4 million and is scheduled to be completed by late summer 2010.

    The Ice Arena will seat 850 spectators and serve as a teaching facility for instruction and research in ice activities, a home for Panther varsity men's and women's ice hockey teams, and a site for student recreation. The Ice Arena will also be a venue for community skating including high school athletics, adult and youth hockey leagues, figure skating, and recreational skating.

  • Provo City Municipal Council has placed a general obligation bond election on the ballot for November 2, 2010 for the voters of Provo to consider funding a new recreation center in Provo. This page is designed to keep the community up to date on the recreation center bonding proposal as decisions are made along the way.
    Ice Sports Association Sioux Falls, SD  The vision of new ice facilities in Sioux Falls has long existed and over the past 10 years, there have been many starts and stops and many long hours of hard work to make it a reality. Given the urgency of the situation that exists today, the Ice Sports Association was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to serve as an umbrella organization whose purpose is the creation of an ice facility for area youth and the community. The organization has the full support of many community leaders, the Sioux Falls Youth Hockey Association and the Sioux Falls Figure Skating Club.
  • The Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena project represents a determined and proactive effort at community revitalization.  During the planning and early development stages, many considered the project impossible.  Yet, along with ancillary development, it now serves as extraordinary example of the possibilities of strategic philanthropy.
  • Ralston Ice Arena plans take shape. Earlier this month, the City Council approved an agreement with North Dakota-based ICON Architectural Group to begin mapping plans for a proposed city sports and entertainment venue at the site of the former Lakeview Golf Course, 72nd and Q Streets.
Rink Management Services Corp., a Virginia-based firm that currently helps 12 municipalities run ice arenas, conducted the feasibility study.

This week the city will get results of a feasibility study on the project. Mayor Don Groesser said public meetings will be scheduled after he and the council study the report. He expects to hold at least two hearings, one in August and another in September, to go over the findings with residents.
  • Report: People want a rink at Jackson Square — If non-profit developer Urban Edge does not move forward with its plans to build a permanent home for the Kelly Rink in Jackson Square, it will not be for lack of local demand.
A recently completed Urban Edge-commissioned analysis, presented by the developer at the Aug. 4 meeting of the Jackson Square Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC), indicates there is plenty of desire for an ice-rink.
  • Proposed Arena in Tucson City of Tucson   Building to host shows, University of Arizona Ice Cats hockey. and arena football games. ..... This report outlines the key findings of the feasibility study
  • A NEW SPORTS ARENA ON ICE?;  The city of West St. Paul is reviewing a feasibility study about what to do with an aging ice arena. West St. Paul's aging ice arena could be replaced by a $12.9 million sports complex if some developers and hockey enthusiasts have their way. While hundreds of kids are expected to hit the ice this weekend for tryouts for the city's youth program, city officials are whacking around ideas about what to do with the nearly 40-year-old ice rink that needs more than a million dollars worth of repairs and renovations.
City Council members recently heard the results of a feasibility study, and the most discussed option was a recommendation to build a $12.9 million sports arena near S. Robert Street and Wentworth Avenue, where the city's maintenance facility used to be. It would include a new ice rink and an 80,000 square-foot FieldTurf dome for sports such as soccer and baseball.
It has substantial space on the sides and ends of the rink for storage, locker rooms, seating, etc.
Fitted with individual seats, it will seat over 1000 spectators. Fitted with bench seats it can hold upwards of 2200. Simply expanding the size will allow more seating.

When used as a pair, one rink can be for performance or competition, and the other for practice.
Recreation Centers with ice surfaces -

Mount Vernon RECenter, Fairfax County Park Authority Mount Vernon Recreation Center  ice arena, Fairfax, VA 22035.

South Lake Tahoe: South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation  Includes: South Tahoe Ice Arena, Recreation and Swimming Pool Complex

Richfield Recreation Ice Arena Programs for all ages at the Richfield, MN Community Center, Wood Lake Nature Center, and Ice Arena,

Pierce County Parks Recreation Department's Sprinker Center in Tacoma, WA has four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts, a pro shop, and five racquetball courts. and the Sprinkler Recreation Center Ice Arena

Recreation and Facilities Management - Portland Ice Arena  Portland, Maine recreation and facilities management.  Ice Arena open from July through April.. Join us for all your skating needs: Skating Lessons ~ Figure Skating Hockey Schools


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

The Ultimate Ice Skating Facility
Planning a New Ice Skating Rink
Summary - Developing New Ice Skating Rinks
Executive Summary
Formulating a Rink Proposal
Feasibility Study
Business Financial Structures
Rink Feasibility Study
Facility Design Issues
Facilities Concerned with Design
Design Principles
Ice Skating Rink Business
PDF  When Bigger is Better
PDF  How An Ice Arena Works

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