Fresh red cedarwood slats now cover the front of Martha’s Vineyard Arena. “It used to look prison-like,” Peter Lambos said. Mr. Lambos, M.V. Arena general manager, said he wanted the building to match its neighbor, the YMCA, to make it look more like a campus.
Walking by dirt heaps, you can hear the shrill buzzing of machinery and progress. Freshly painted purple beams make a tent-shaped ceiling, and below Mr. Lambos stands on the dry rink hiding 11 miles of geothermal piping.
The arena will be about 20 percent more energy-efficient, he said. “The grandma and grandpa viewing space has nearly doubled,” Mr. Lambos said. The refrigeration system better reuses waste heat to warm the newly expanded lobby area. Huge tubes branch into smaller ones like veins running below the rink surface — a new mat system better at keeping the ground below from freezing. Tempered glass encircles the rink, replacing the battered Plexiglas.“You could barely see through it before,” Mr. Lambos said. Opening-day visitors can expect a concession stand and a new pro shop run by the arena.
They’ve stayed on schedule despite small complications during the $3.7 million remodeling process. Mr. Lambos anticipates filling the rink by the end of the month: flooding it with about an eighth of an inch of water, laying paint down to freeze, following by mist solidifying about an inch of fresh ice. He hopes the public opening and first skate will be the last weekend of September. Kids have been spending their time at hockey camps in the meantime, some at Jay Peak in Vermont, or in Falmouth Arena, for “open stick” hockey time.
Mr. Lambos says he’s dedicating this year’s 17th annual Ice Savours fundraiser on August 17 at 6 pm at the Field Club in Edgartown to celebrating the remodel. The Boston Bruins Foundation is among the donors to the project — Mr. Lambos hopes to get a player out to the Island for the event. But he’ll also feature stories from the kids who grew up playing at M.V. Arena, lugging their equipment to practice each season.
“It is celebrating the fact that this is the arena everyone envisioned back in the 1970s,” Mr. Lambos said.