In a long-percolating development, representatives for the Martha’s Vineyard Arena (MVA) announced on Wednesday that the aging ice rink on Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road will undergo a $3.4 million renovation, beginning in March 2017.
The plan to overhaul the 40-year-old facility is a departure from the long-discussed game plan to build a new arena and convert the present arena into a field house.
MVA board president Geoghan Coogan told The Times on Wednesday that money was a major factor in the shift. “The price tag of renovating the building was half the cost of building a new rink,” he said. “Also, it seemed from most of the input we were getting that the interest in a field house was only lukewarm.”
MVA general manager Peter Lambos said time was also a factor.
“We thought new construction was the only way not to lose a year of activity, but our engineering firm figured out a way to do it between March and September, so we wouldn’t have to lose a hockey season,” he said in a phone conversation with The Times.
MacLaughlin Management and Design, based in Exeter, N.H., is consulting on the project. “Also, this place was built by a labor of love,” Mr. Lambos said. “This way we keep the feel and all the hard work that the community has put into it.”
Since 1973, the MVA has grown in stages — pieces and parts were added when funds allowed. Tisbury residents Bob and Gayle Mone were among the volunteers who built the first incarnation of the MVA in 1973, when Islanders laid the pipe and created an ice surface that was cleaned with a small plow on a Jeep. In 1999 the Mones also raised funds for new locker rooms, which will remain intact in the revamped arena.
Mr. Lambos said the arena won’t appear drastically different on the outside, save the proposed cedar shingling and bump-out to accommodate a new kitchen. “Inside, it’s going to be cleaner, fresher, much more energy-efficient, and more user-friendly,” he said.
Mr. Lambos said the arena’s new surface will open up a wide range of options. “Now the piping for the ice sits on top of the concrete slab. With the new surface, the pipes will be in the concrete, so in the spring, we can put down sport floor or turf and it can be used for indoor soccer, lacrosse, tennis, concerts, all kinds of events,” he said. “You can’t play hockey year-round, and the revenue dries up in the spring.”
Wednesday’s announcement also marks the beginning of the Community Contribution Campaign for the project.
The MVA has already scored an anonymous donation that will match up to $500,000 of contributions from Island residents, businesses, groups, and foundations. Since fundraising began this summer, over $1.5 million in private gifts and pledges, among them a grant awarded by the Boston Bruins Foundation, has been brought in.
Mr. Coogan said the ice system construction will go out to bid in December, to a handful of specialized contractors. Work on the arena building will go out to bid soon after. “We want to go to local contractors as much as we can for that,” he said. “We want the community involved as much as possible.”
Tax-deductible gifts to the Martha’s Vineyard Arena Renovation Project Community Contribution Campaign can be sent to Martha’s Vineyard Arena, P.O. Box 2062, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Please note that your gift is for the renovation. Contributions may also be made at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena, 91 Edgartown Road in Oak Bluffs, or online at mvarena.com.
For more information, contact Martha’s Vineyard Arena general manager Peter Lambos at 508-693-5329 or email@example.com.