Most college recreation centers have basketball courts, a running track, locker rooms and equipment checkout. Some have pools and spas. Fewer still have ice rinks.
Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, is home to the Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion. Between the NHL sized rink and the studio rink, open skate is always an option for students. The pavilion also houses a pro shop, a skate rental shop and a skate sharpener. The facility is used by the hockey and figure skating clubs, women’s Division I ice hockey team, intramural hockey and broomball leagues and classes conducted by various departments on campus.
Kelly Johnson, associate director for recreation services, said the push for an ice rink was student led, so they began searching for donors. The facility was eventually funded and donated by the Tennity family. “When they donated the money, the one thing they wanted to make sure of was that the students would always have access to public skate,” Johnson said. “So no matter what we do, whenever we’re open … there is access to the students for public skating.”
Johnson said ice-skating allows students to get a different kind of physical activity that they can’t get at other recreation facilities. “It gives the students a different experience,” he said. “Most students that come here have never skated before. It gives the ability to learn how to skate to a group of students who haven’t had access to that before.”
For students who grew up skating, Johnson said the facility provides them with different programs to get involved in.“Between the synchronized skating club, the figure skating club and the hockey club, I think it really attracts people to this university because we have those programs that other universities don’t have,” he said.
Syracuse University is one of only 33 schools nationwide that offers a synchronized skating team. “It’s definitely an advantage because [students] don’t have to go off campus to get to an ice rink,” Johnson said. “For a lot of college campuses, I’ve heard that they have to drive anywhere from half an hour to an hour to get to a rink so they can have that physical activity that they’re looking for.”
Johnson said the general upkeep of an ice rink facility is more routine than difficult. The biggest facet of upkeep is the monetary commitment. “Recently, we looked at having the flooring replaced and it was over $200,000,” he said. “So there’s definitely a monetary commitment that you have to have if you’re going to build an ice rink.”