The HF rink is stripped of its inner workings

Have you ever wondered how ice is made for an ice rink?

“It’s pretty amazing when you see it like that,” said Doug Boehm, superintendent of parks and planning at the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, as he stood in the middle of what used to be the HF Ice rink. arena.

The Park District is preparing for a total renovation of the rink’s refrigeration system after its old ice-making system failed in November, causing the facility at 777 Kedzie Ave to close. at Flossmoor.

Parks employee Kenny Nye uses a backhoe to remove sand and debris from the HF Ice Arena as repair work begins. (Marylyn Thomas)

The park district is expected to approve a contract for a new refrigeration system at a special meeting on March 29. In the meantime, park employees Andrew Presnak and Kenny Nye have stripped the rink of its innards.

Presnak, the rink’s maintenance supervisor, said the rink is built on a layer of gravel that serves as a subfloor. Then two layers of insulating foam boards are laid on top. A plastic vapor barrier sits on top, separating the foam from the 150 pipes that are 200 feet in length.

The refrigerant solution would fill the pipes covered with approximately four inches of sand. Presnak said that when the sand freezes, “it’s hard as rock.”

Presnak and Nye have been working for the past two weeks cleaning the rink. They cut the stainless steel piping, bundled it up and took it to a recycling center. Their efforts raised $10,756 for the park district.

Engineers went to measure the depth of the core to make sure the ground is stable, Boehm said. The Park District is working with WB Olson, Inc., the construction manager for the project. Presnak said he was part of the park district team on the project. The plan is to reopen the rink in November.

The arena’s smaller rink won’t get the same hands-on treatment from park staff. It’s concrete and will require jackhammers to break it up, Boehm said.

Two layers of foam board lay under the pipes filled with refrigerant to make the ice at the HF Ice Arena. (Marylyn Thomas)

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