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Wentz Arena insulation improved

By Staff | Jul 4, 2014

Tim Chapman/PCT A new look to the Al Wentz Arena ceiling was expected to be finished Thursday. The white material on the right is Astro-Rink, a low-emissivity insulation with increased “R” value — a measure of thermal resistance.

Al Wentz Arena will be brighter and better insulated thanks to the installation of Astro-Rink on the ceiling.

Quebec company Energie Innovation was busy fitting the low-emissivity insulation during an eight-day period spanning the previous two weeks.

The white material can improve the quality and level of lighting by 40 percent, according to the company’s website. From a budget angle, the Rugby Amateur Hockey Association stands to save with higher refrigeration efficiency with the air-tight insulation. Heat from the lights will be reflected away from the ice surface and the refrigeration system will be strained less.

Al Wentz Arena was built in 1988 and the ceiling is being updated for the first time.

“It’s just time to reinvest,” board member Marques Stricker said. “We’re hoping to make it more attractive and give our kids an all-around better place to play.”

Stricker said the $50,000 insulation, which is puck proof and has a lifetime guarantee, is an initial step in overall improvements expected to cost about $250,000.

Warping over time and less-than precise floor leveling caused the surface of the ice to vary in thickness between two and seven inches throughout the rink. B & J Excavating will be cutting the surface down to within 3 to 5 hundredths of an inch throughout the arena upon completion of the ceiling. The association hopes to have the new pipes, which hold the brine for the refrigeration, placed and sand leveled by the end of summer. A level of styrofoam will be added between the sand and ice.

Stricker expects the facility to be able to get ice ready earlier in the fall and keep ice through March like facilities for rival programs in Bottineau, Devils Lake and Langdon.

The association received 50 feet to the west of the building from Otter Tail for expansion for locker rooms. It is unclear if that phase will begin this year.

“The hockey association is always welcoming donations to improve our facility and give our youth a better hockey experience,” Stricker said.

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