Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Donor gives $4 million to Hailey Ice

Nonprofit group plans new indoor rink to open in 2015

Express Staff Writer

This architects’ rendering shows what the Campion Ice House in Hailey will look like upon completion..
Courtesy graphic

    The announcement at Thursday night’s “Rockin’ the Rink” gathering for Hailey Ice simply blew every-body away.
    That’s because longtime Wood River Valley resident Lynn Campion-Waddell gave Hailey Ice supporters a great surprise.
    As hundreds of skating supporters listened and Campion-Waddell, Thomas Campion and Berit Campion looked on, Hailey Ice Board President Ron Fairfax announced that Campion’s family founda-tion—the Deer Creek Fund of the Denver-based Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation—has made a $4 million gift to help fund construction of an indoor ice rink in Hailey.
    Hailey Ice is a nonprofit organization that has been fundraising and working hard to build the first non-profit indoor ice rink in Blaine County.
    Until Thursday’s stunning announcement, Hailey Ice had been in the preliminary building stages of an outdoor refrigerated rink at Hailey’s Wertheimer Park next to the Hailey Rodeo Arena and Hailey Skatepark. That construction will continue through the fall.
    Now, Hailey Ice is turning its focus to what has been its ultimate goal—a fully-enclosed indoor ice rink in Hailey.
    The cost to construct both the outdoor and indoor phases of the project is $5.5 million, according to Fairfax.
    He said, “This was a goal that we thought was out of reach. To say that the Campion family’s third gift to the project is transformational to the Wood River Val-ley is an understatement.
    “The only way that our entire community would be able to truly enjoy ice activities would be to have a nonprofit indoor ice rink in the south valley. We defi-nitely needed a very substantial commitment from someone.
    “I think this is the largest philanthropic gift ever made in Blaine County.”
    In honor of the Campion family’s support for the project, Hailey Ice has pledged to name the rink “Cam-pion Ice House,” Fairfax said in a Hailey Ice news re-lease.
    The Campion family’s $300,000 gift from the Deer Creek Fund in December 2012 was the catalyst for Hai-ley Ice’s current drive for a Hailey rink over the past 20 months, according to Sarah Benson, Hailey Ice execu-tive director.
    She said, “We had already raised most of the $1.4 million to complete the first phase of our project. That total came from the $300,000 gift from the Deer Creek Fund in December 2012, a very generous donation of $500,000 from The Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation, and an impactful $300,000 contribution from a local couple who have asked to remain anonymous.”

We definitely needed a very substantial commitment from someone.”
Ron Fairxfax
Hailey Ice president

    Funding of the project’s “First Phase” enabled Hai-ley Ice to initiate construction of the outdoor refriger-ated rink that was approved this year by the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission and started earlier this summer.
    Benson said, “The first phase includes building the ice rink itself, but we could only dream of the possibil-ity of completing the project by enclosing the arena.
    “An indoor rink would provide us with all of the facilities necessary to host hockey games and tourna-ments and other ice activities for children and adults throughout the Intermountain region.”
    “Construction of the outdoor refrigerated rink will continue through fall, but, given this exciting devel-opment, the rink will not be available for use until it is fully enclosed and opens as an indoor rink in Novem-ber 2015.”
    She added, “Hailey Ice will continue to operate an outdoor non-refrigerated rink at the Rodeo Grounds this winter.”
    Campion-Waddell, board chair of the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation, said that all board members, especially Thomas Campion and Berit Cam-pion, “agreed that children and adults in the southern part of the Wood River Valley community deserve con-sistent and affordable access to ice.”
    In the news release, Campion-Waddell added, “Hockey teams and leagues, figure skaters and other ice sports enthusiasts will now be able to participate in these winter activities eight months a year rather than just two or three months.”
    “Our foundation considers this gift to be a wise in-vestment in our community,” said Campion-Waddell. “If kids and families from the south valley have easy access to ice for at least eight months a year, what could be better? The rink can be used for other activi-ties in the summer months, bringing in more revenue to help our local economy.”
    Benson said the July 31 “Rockin’ the Rink” event attracted “an amazing turnout” of supporters who sampled over 400 hamburgers and hot dogs provided for the occasion. After the announcement was made, a succession of people went up to the Campions to ex-press their thanks, she said.
    “One by one, people went up to Lynn to thank her and hug her. At one point she turned to me and said, ‘This is unbelievable!’ It reconfirmed to her how im-portant the gift was to us and to the community.”
    While the Campion family’s gift will fund the con-struction necessary to enclose the ice rink, Hailey Ice still needs to raise an additional $400,000 to provide items such as a scoreboard, bleachers, locker rooms, and rubber flooring for skaters, according to Benson.
    Benson said about Lynn Campion-Waddell’s contri-bution, “She is building the building. Now we have to fill it—with bleachers, rubber mats, scoreboard and a new Zamboni.
    “We are hopeful that valley residents and visitors will be inspired by the Campion family’s enormous generosity, and they will join the Deer Creek Fund by contributing the remaining funds we need to reach our funding goal of $5.5 million.”
    Fairfax noted that other communities in the West with enclosed ice rinks report that those rinks con-tribute to the vibrancy of the local economy.
    “A weekend hockey tournament with teams from throughout the Intermountain region can result in lo-cal business revenues of $10,000 to $18,000 for restau-rants, hotels, and other businesses,” he said.
    Motivated by the new developments, Hailey Ice will continue its schedule of rink construction that began in earnest July 21 with the arrival in Hailey of workers from Arena Products and Services from Colorado.
    Volunteer labor has been plentiful and productive, Benson added.
    Sand has been laid for the rink surface, then smoothed and graded. Heat piping, vapor barriers and cooling tubes are being installed, and volunteers tied down reinforcing steel called Rebar in the evening hours this week.
    Concrete is due to be poured over the night of Thursday, Aug. 7. It will be cured for a minimum of 28 days.
    The ice plant construction is currently under way in Canada, with plans to install the ice plant Sept. 22. The system will be tested, and then the project will be shut down for the winter, Benson said.
    Hailey Ice will return to the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission seeking approval of its plans for the building of the indoor rink, she added.
    When the snow melts next spring, plans call for con-struction of the structural steel building with an esti-mated completion date of November 2015.

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