RALEIGH — Just as the weather begins to heat up, the promise of ice in Raleigh is closer at hand. It's a promise many are anxious to see fulfilled.
A major achievement for the new Raleigh arena is in its final stages this week; a project that has been fighting the calendar. After this weekend, a massive flooring system -- a grid of steel -- will be forever hidden by 8 inches of concrete.
Beneath the concrete, refrigerant will be pumped through pipes to form the home ice for theCarolina Hurricaneshockey team.
"This is the finishing stage of the building," says Authority Chairman Steve Stroud. "This means that we're in the short rows now. That's something that we've all been looking forward to."
Once the floor is completed, trucks can cart in the seats and other heavy materials needed to finish the project on time.
"Obviously there will be some final punch items, but the basic building will be completed by October 1," Stroud says.
The project includes a $2 million item that hockey arenas in Canada don't need -- a way to keep the ice from going soft.
"This building is designed to avoid the concerns of soft ice," explains Site Architect Dave Rotman. "Most of the time that is not a function of the ice floor, but more a function of the humidity control you exert on a building."
"That clearly tells us that this building is in the right market at the right time."
The ice floor contractor has installed hockey floors in several NHL arenas in Canada and the United States.
With the project cost running close to $160 million, word that 175 events are already booked under this roof is welcome news to Authority members.