Casper Ice Arena may replace ice plant

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Casper Ice Arena needs to replace its ice plant soon to continue operating.

Casper Ice Arena's current ice plant in Casper, Wyo. on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.

The current machine is 35 years old and well past its life expectancy.

“That ice plant hasn't been shut down for two years because we're afraid that it's not going to start back up. That's what the specialists have told us. Furthermore, it's run on Freon, a particular type of Freon that is no longer being produced," Casper Parks and Recreation Director Tim Cortez said.

He said it could fail at any time and cause the ice to melt within days.

“We kind of make the joke around here, you know, “Make sure you say a prayer or rub nice on the ice plant,’” Cortez said.

City officials want to replace the plant with the currently dormant one at the Casper Events Center. According to Events Center officials, it hasn’t been used since 2017.

Cortez said it’s in good condition and should last another 20 years.

The only problem is it won’t be cheap to move the plant.

According to city documents, the project could cost around $2.5 million.

Cortez said the city would have to build a facility to hold the plant and spend money getting the surface ice-ready.

“It’s expensive because there’s not a lot of contracts out there that can specialize in this type of work,” he said.

Casper City Council members gave preliminary approval to the project at Tuesday’s work session.

“We have a very robust hockey program, very robust figure skating program,” Cortez said. “Basically, it’s the only type of ice that we really have in Casper that you can do those types of activities.”