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Glacial Ridge Curling Club has a design and site for new facility in Willmar

The preliminary design and location of the proposed Glacial Ridge Curling Club facility at the Willmar Civic Center was recently approved by the Willmar City Council. The club can now begin fundraising in earnest to raise the money for the facility.

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The Willmar City Council approved the site and preliminary design for the Glacial Ridge Curling Club facility, to be constructed near the Willmar Civic Center. File photo / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — A dedicated curling facility for the Glacial Ridge Curling Club has moved another step forward. The Willmar City Council earlier this month approved the site and preliminary design for the center, giving the club the green light to begin fundraising for construction.

"This is a long time coming for the curling club," said Rob Baumgarn, Willmar Parks and Recreation director, at the Aug. 16 council meeting.

The project has been in the works since at least 2017 and has an estimated cost of $2 million , all of which will come from fundraising. Once constructed, the city will own the building while the curling club leases it back for its use.

The curling club hired Lon Negen of Negen & Associates to do the design for the facility. The building is set to be located on the west side of the Willmar Civic Center complex, adjacent to the future recreation and event center. A connection between the two buildings could be built to tie all the buildings together. When everything is completed, the Willmar Civic Center complex will include two turf athletic fields, softball/baseball fields, the recreation and event center, the curling facility and the current Blue Line and Cardinal Arenas.

"We've worked so it all works together," Baumgarn said at the council meeting.

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The floor plan for the curling center will include four curling lanes, judging booths, elevated seating and concessions area along with restrooms and locker rooms.

What the facility won't have is a lot of natural light. The design includes a few windows by the seating area, but the rest of the space will not have windows.

"The heat from the sun affects the ice," Baumgarn said at the Aug. 18 Parks and Recreation board meeting. Baumgarn presented the design to the board after the council approved it. "It is going to be a really closed facility."

Curling ice isn't like the ice made for hockey or figure skating. Baumgarn said the curlers will never have to use a ice resurfacer like a Zamboni, so there is no entry point for one in the design. The curling ice is usually created using hand floods and sprayers, then the special bumps on the ice are made.

"They have it down to a science," Baumgarn said.

On the outside, the curling facility should meld nicely with the Willmar Civic Center and the recreation and event center. Negen has been working with the recreation and event center architect LSE to match the outside aesthetic of the structures.

"So all these buildings are cohesive and will look great," said Councilor Julie Asmus at the council meeting.

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The council unanimously approved the site and preliminary design. The next steps will include the council signing off on the final design and putting finishing touches on any agreements between the city and curlers.

"This will be a great addition to our complex out there," said Mayor Marv Calvin at the council meeting.

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In November 2017, Jeff Anderson, a member of the Willmar Curling Club Ice Crew, right, sweeps shavings after a pass over the newly pebbled surface by the Icemaster operated by assistant icemaker Rudi Bloomquist. Head icemaker Quentin Way, holding a broom, surveys the beaded surface in the Blue Line Arena at the Willmar Civic Center. With a dedicated curling center, the Glacial Ridge Curling Club will be able to have perfect curling ice whenever it needs it. Rand Middleton file photo / West Central Tribune

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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