Auburn ice arena plans taking shape

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AUBURN — City officials could get their first look at plans for a dual-rink ice arena as early as Wednesday.

Auburn City Manager Clinton Deschene said the ice surface built across the street from the Auburn Mall is still on schedule to open by October 2013.

“There have been a few changes,” Deschene said. “There’s more seating than we first thought and the front of the building is now going to face the Auburn Mall.”

Councilors first began discussing building the rink last spring as a successor to the city’s Ingersoll ice arena and new home to area high school and Lewiston-Auburn junior hockey teams.

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Councilors considered two other potential sites — behind Walmart on Turner Street, south of Stetson Road — before settling on developer George Schott’s land on Turner Street and behind Shaw’s and the Auburn Mall.

Councilors went back and forth before signing a lease with Schott. It took financial forecasts that show the facility nearly breaking even after the first year of operation and showing slim profits after that.

Seating has also been an issue. Initial plans called for one rink with seats for 1,200 hockey spectators, a second with seats for 200 and a shared mezzanine with seats for another 300.

Seating around the larger rink was reduced to 800 later, but Deschene said it’s come back up slightly. Plans now call for the larger rink to have room for 900 hockey spectators.

“This was never meant to be a competitor for (Lewiston’s Androscoggin Bank) Colisee,” Deschene said. “It’s going to be a different kind of a facility.”

staylor@sunjournal.com

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