MISSOULA — The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has prompted the Glacier Ice Rink board of directors to vote to remove the ice sheet and remain closed for the remainder of the season, the rink announced on Wednesday.
Glacier Ice Rink was originally scheduled to remain open through mid-June but has been temporarily closed since March 16. The board made its decision on Monday.
"We talked about (closing) last week and kind of sat on it for a week," executive director Laura Henning told MTN News. "We discussed it Monday night and in looking at what it's costing us to maintain the ice we just realized that we don't know when this is going to end and we just can't keep sitting on a sheet of ice without knowing when we can open.
"Most of our finances, or expenses, are wrapped up in the refrigeration of the rink. To keep a sheet of ice costs roughly this time of the year about $8,000 a month. The longer the COVID-19 situation is going on, we were just kind of realizing this is not going to be over anytime soon and the costs were really starting to outweigh the benefit of trying to stay open."
Staff will begin the ice removal process of the indoor rink this week and use the downtime for facility maintenance and program planning for next season. Henning said the plan is for the rink to reopen in late August.