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New ice-skating facility in southern California built to endure seismic events

Great Ice Park and FivePoint Arena include four ice rinks.

February 06, 2019 |

Great Park Ice has a 2,500-person capacity. It is part of a four-rink facility that is the largest ice-skating complex in California, and one of the largest in the country that's accessible to the public. Image: Courtesy of Swinerton Builders.

Great Ice Park & FivePoint Arena, a 280,000-sf ice skating and training facility that opened  in Irvine, Calif., last December 28th, is the first ice rink to be built in southern California’s Orange County in two decades.

The $104 million project consists of three NHL-size rinks (200x85 ft) and one Olympic-size rink (200x100 ft). It serves as the new training facility for the Anaheim Ducks National Hockey League team, as well as for Olympic figure-skating training. The facility was financed by Irvine Ice Foundation, a nonprofit made up of locally-based civic leaders funded by the Ducks’ owners. The Foundation holds a 50-year lease, after which ownership of the facility reverts to the city.

The complex—for which LPA Architects was the designer and engineer, and Swinerton Builders the contractor—is unique in that it features two pre-engineered metal buildings (PEMBs) combined with one conventional building that houses the lobby, the Ducks’ training facility, and offices. (Nucor’s plant in Utah provided the prefab components for the PEMBs. Rink-Tec International was the project’s refrigeration subcontractor.)

This combination of building types posed design and construction challenges, says Nick Thomas, LEED AP, a Senior Superintendent for Swinerton in Los Angeles.

The Building Team decided to go with PEMBs—which Swinerton had worked with before, but typically for standalone structures—primarily because they are quicker to build with. (While construction on this project started in August 2017, it wasn’t fully permitted until that December.)

PEMBs are also more flexible during seismic events, and resistant to seismic tremors. Thomas explains that the architect needed to account for seismic movement of as much as six inches either way, while the conventional building in between the two PEMBs would move only ¼- to ½-inch during an earthquake.

“We had to create expansion joints, which we just completed installing,” says Thomas. “We also had to build in tolerances to keep the buildings separated so they could move independently and not slam into each other.” Further complicating the engineering of this facility was the fact that the PEMBs are two stories, and the conventional building is one story.

The main arena at Great Park Ice can accommodate 2,500 people, and can host different sporting and entertainment events. The three other ice rinks have a 500-person capacity. Two of these rinks are available to the public for such activities as youth and adult hockey leagues, tournaments and competitions, and open recreational skating.

THE RINKS Ice Management Team manages the facility.


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