City Arena supports hockey, skating, events and more

The City Arena, 701 Lake Chapeau Drive, spans almost 100,000 square feet with two sheets of ice, two conference rooms for public use, several locker rooms, space for dog training, and many storage areas. Built in 1967 as the field house for Lea College, the city bought the building when the college closed and converted it to an ice arena in 1976. Funded by the Albert Lea Hockey Association, the second sheet of ice opened in 1999.

The arena is home to the Albert Lea High School girls and boys hockey teams; Albert Lea Hockey Association youth teams; Albert Lea Figure Skating Club; Waldorf College (Forest City, Iowa) hockey; and Freeborn County Kennel Club.

In addition, the arena supports Mites hockey, Learn to Skate lessons, public skate and events like Rock on Ice.

The facility is open year-round, and when the ice is out, hosts indoor soccer, dog shows, banquets and other private events.


Proposed projects would sustain arena long-term

In an April 9, 2024 referendum, Albert Lea voters authorized borrowing funds for the following projects, which total $7.54 million in net costs ($9.99 million less $2.45 million in federal funding). The Albert Lea Hockey Association has pledged $250,000 toward expanding the lobby, which would further reduce the costs to property taxpayers. The Albert Lea Figure Skating Club also intends to donate toward the lobby.

The City Arena is home to the Albert Lea High School hockey teams.


Repair support beams: The building is 57 years old, and 1 exterior support beam needs support while 6 additional beams need reinforcement. These repairs are needed to keep the building standing. $193,000
Repair the drainage system around the Colstrup (practice rink): The drainage system is not working, contributing to the frost buildup under the rink, which is causing the rink floor to heave. Better drainage is needed to extend the life expectancy of a new floor and  reduce energy used to maintain ice. $193,000
Seal the building: Seal the roof and wall connections and replace door weather-stripping to reduce energy use for heating, cooling and dehumidifying. $37,000
Frost testing: Determine the depth of frost under the Colstrup (practice) rink to plan for its removal. Eliminating the frost is needed to sustain the life expectancy of the new floor and reduce energy used to maintain ice. $22,000
New floor for Colstrup (practice) rink: The floor is heaving and cracking due to frost underneath, leading to uneven depths of ice. This leads to using more energy to maintain the thicker levels of ice in places. Reducing the energy use would qualify for federal funding. $725,000 ($1.2 million less $480,000 on federal funding)
Replace the refrigeration system for both rinks: The refrigeration system for the Colstrup (practice) rink is failing after 26 years of use. The refrigeration system for the Nystrom rink will need replacing within 10 years. By installing one high-efficiency system for both rinks, the arena will use less energy and the project will qualify for federal funding. $3.71 million ($5.66 million less $1.95 million in federal funding)
LED lighting: Replacing the fluorescent lighting with LED technology throughout the arena would greatly reduce the energy used for lighting. LEDs would also provide better lighting for hockey and skating, and staff could control the lighting levels with less lighting for practices and optimal lighting for televised games. Reducing the energy use would qualify for federal funding. $232,000 ($262,000 less $30,000 in federal funding)
Improve dehumidification: The dehumidification system for the Colstrup (practice) rink needs changes to operate efficiently and help reduce energy use for the refrigeration system. $199,000
Improve water quality for making ice: Install a reverse osmosis system for water used in the resurfacing machines to prevent buildup of particles in the ice, which leads to using more energy to maintain ice. $91,000
Renovate bathrooms, locker rooms and HVAC for Colstrup (practice) rink: A new layout for bathrooms and lockers room for the Colstrup link would improve flow for events such as hockey tournaments and figure skating shows. It would allow for changing the HVAC for more energy efficiency. $370,000
Add low emissivity ceiling to the Colstrup (practice) rink: Adding an E-ceiling would reduce heat from the sun coming through the roof and result in using less energy to maintain ice. $97,000
Water conservation: Change the existing fixtures to reduce the amount of water used. Replace shower units throughout the locker rooms. $67,000
Expand lobby for better security and user experience: By enlarging the lobby, the city can improve security for recreation staff along with concession and ticket sales. Additional space would improve crowd flow during 16-team tournaments, figure skating shows and dog shows. The Albert Lea Hockey Association has pledged $250,000 toward this project, which would lower the cost to taxpayers. $1.13 million
Frost removal allowance: The cost of removing the frost beneath the Colstrup (practice rink) could vary from $100,000 to $600,000. The frost testing will reveal the depth and help determine the steps to remove it, which could range from natural thawing to excavating and replacing the soil. $500,000
Replace the sound system for the Colstrup (practice rink): This system is beyond its life expectancy and needs replacing. $21,000

For more information
Bob Furland
Recreation Manager
[email protected]