Well, the road to Bend’s new public ice rink hasn’t exactly been as smooth as ice, but it looks like opening day is finally in sight. Construction of the ambitious 29,000-square-foot project began more than a year ago; the original opening date was scheduled for late November, before first being pushed back to between Dec. 19 and Dec. 24. The rink –- which is known as The Pavilion because it will be host to warm-weather activities, too — is now expected to open between Dec. 28 and Dec. 31. The winter storm that hit Bend just before Thanksgiving is taking the blame for the latest delay.

When The Pavilion does open, plenty of winter sports fans will be happy to see its arrival. Located in what was previously the Mount Bachelor Park and Ride lot (at the corner of SW Colorado and Simpson avenues), the $11.35 million project will be the first public ice rink in Bend since 2004. That’s when the rink at Juniper Park was torn up for the construction of the 50-meter pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center (there are smaller ice rinks at Sunriver Resort, Seventh Mountain Resort and in Redmond).

The eye-catching facility, funded by a $29 million bond that voters approved in 2012,  features a distinctive “catenary-style” roof. In physics, a “catenary” is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends; it’s often used in the design of bridges and arches. The unique structure, designed by James Meyer of Portland-based architectural firm Opsis, was selected from several options as the best solution for providing sufficient coverage from the elements while maintaining its open-air feel so the facility can remain usable year-round.

The ice season will normally begin in early November and conclude at the end of March. At this point, more than half the anticipated 77 hours a week that the rink is scheduled to be open have already been filled by organized programs, including ice hockey, curling and skating lessons.
During the non-ice season, The Pavilion will be home to a variety of sport and recreation activities. Drop-in court sports (including basketball, tennis, pickleball and volleyball) will be available in the spring and fall; and a summer day-camp program is being developed for elementary and middle school-age kids.

Here are a few fun facts about The Pavilion:

  • It’s Central Oregon’s only full NHL-size (200 x 85 feet) ice sheet and boasts full height dasher boards, players boxes and a refrigeration system, with more than two miles of tubing to.
  • The concrete floor of the pavilion is interlaced with more than two miles of tubing, used to carry the propylene glycol that ensures prime ice conditions, even in marginal weather conditions.
  • In addition to the 30,000-square-foot Pavilion roof, the rink is protected on the south and west sides by translucent panels designed to reduce wind and sun exposure on the ice while maintaining an open-air feel.
  • The facility is stocked with 500 pairs of Jackson Softec skates, anall-around skate for general use or hockey. Guests are also welcome to bring their own skates.
  • The outdoor plaza includes fire pits, a play area, spectator viewing and a small shelter.
  • The elevated viewing room (with fireplace and wi-fi!) provides a bird’s-eye view of the activity on the rink.

For more info about The Pavilion, call (541) 389-7275 or email info@bendparksandrec.org. Drop-in skate session schedules are available online at www.bendparksandrec.org for the holiday break and for the regular season, Jan. 4–March 27.

About the Author
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE, is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Bend and Redmond.