Civic Complex looking to expand practice arena

The Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena is working on plans to expand the practice arena to include seating. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

The Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena is working on plans to expand the practice arena to include seating. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Visitors to the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena may soon notice some changes to the facility’s practice skating arena.

The facility is currently working on plans to expand the practice arena, moving the players and referee benches to accommodate 400 seats.

“We’re pushing it out about 15 feet on the west side of the rink to accommodate (the seating),” Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena Director Danny Tate said. “It gives us seating capacity…we don’t have any in the practice rink.”

Although it is not the main rink, the practice rink still keeps a busy schedule. A full NHL regulation-sized rink, the practice rink hosts “youth league games, travel games,” and as the home facility of the University of Alabama Frozen Tide, “the University of Alabama will even have some of their games in there,” Tate said.

The practice arena also houses various non-skating activities as well.

“A part of the state volleyball tournament was in there,” Tate said, noting “all kinds of things,” even wrestling tournaments have been held on the covered practice rink ice. “It’s a multi-purpose facility,” he said.

The Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena is also gearing up to host several major events, including the SEC Hockey Championships and the College Division III National Championships in the winter of 2015.

“It’s the city’s answer to accommodate a need that we’ve had for 17 years,” Tate said of the seating expansion. “With these upcoming events, it makes sense to jump on it.”

Tate said the Pelham City Council plans address the plans and award the bid to a construction company during their upcoming Aug. 18 meeting, and he expects construction to begin in the coming weeks.

Tate estimated that within “six to 10 weeks,” visitors, whether attending an event or merely waiting for a practice to finish, will have a place to sit.