AUBURN — The city’s two-rink ice arena is on track to be ready for some skating by November, according to Ice Arena Manager Joshua MacDonald.

MacDonald told councilors he was expecting a soft opening with one ice surface in November, the second in December and a grand opening with public skating early next year.

“We could have both sheets of ice open and rented but the mezzanine level not completed, and I’d hate to have a promoted opening where we wouldn’t let people go upstairs,” MacDonald said.

He said the city may time the grand opening to coincide with the city’s annual January-February Winter Festival.

“We try to use that as one of the opportunities, and one of the events, at that time,” he said.

The grand opening would include public skating, he told councilors.

“This is something I think will be spectacular for the community, not necessarily just the hockey community,” MacDonald said.

The arena is being built just off Turner Street near the Auburn Mall and overlooking the Shaw’s Supermarket and Center Street. The facility will be surrounded by 380-space parking lot.

The first ice sheet, with a concrete floor below the ice surface and seating for 810 and room for another 500 spectators, should be ready to go in November. A series of 10 team locker rooms, five coach and two referee lockers, as well as the second-floor offices and spectator areas, should be ready by then as well.

A second ice surface, with roughly 180 seats and standing room for another 450 spectators, should be ready and the construction should be complete in January. The smaller rink will have a sand floor.

Most of the seating, a warm area and concession stand would be on the mezzanine, the second level.

According to plan, the city will lease the facility from developer George Schott. Rink revenue is expected to cover most of the costs.

MacDonald said the facility is looking sound financially for the first year, with $1.18 million in revenues and an estimated $1.17 million in expenses for 2014. But he stopped short of making forecasts beyond that.

“I think fiscal year 2014 is a challenging enough task in terms of analyzing and projecting expenses from a new facility,” he said. “To make future forecast assessments is a difficult task in terms of just increasing revenues by 3 percent and expenses. I don’t think it’s fair to anyone to make that assumption without seeing the actual costs of operation.”

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