New ice skating rink helps students stay engaged during COVID-19 pandemic
Binghamton University senior Brandon Ngo had never ice skated in his life, but he finally laced up some skates with the installation of the new ice rink on campus. With the rink open date now extended through March 31, other students have the option to try it for themselves.
“It’s something new and outside,” said Ngo. “It makes it safer than doing things inside, because of the pandemic.”
The rink, located at the Old Dickinson Co-Rec Field, was constructed to provide an outlet for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ice rink brings a sense of community in a time when community is very important,” said Pete Nardone, general manager of the University Union, who oversees maintenance and staffing of the space.
The rink, which began construction in January and opened in early February, was a collaboration by Nardone, the University Union and Physical Facilities. The University Union was responsible for researching rink options, working with the contractor on installation, the construction timeline, the student staff hiring process and overall monitoring of the ice rink. Physical Facilities excavated the site, completed the ground work and acquired all the equipment needed for the rink through a bid process.
Construction included excavation, leveling the ground, preparing the ice surface, building decking to cover the tubes and piping, constructing a fence and renting a trailer for the student staff.
Students play a large role in the upkeep of rink’s upkeep, regularly working two- to four-hour shifts during which they are responsible for resurfacing the ice, filling cracks, distributing and sanitizing skates, and keeping records attendance and contact tracing records.
Phyllis Ling, a senior from Queens, N.Y., is enjoying the addition to campus. “I thought it was really cool because we didn’t really have anything to do outdoors, activity-wise,” she said, adding that the ice rink doesn’t seem too crowded and is big enough for everyone to take part. “I’m not aware of any other schools building an ice rink.”
Nardone said that, especially in times like these, he hopes students see the campus efforts to provide different experiences and promote physical wellness. Overall, he is happy with the new installation.
“The ice rink has brought a unique experience to the campus and has been well-received by the students,” said Nardone. “It’s a welcome addition to campus activities.”
For information on the ice rink, including hours, go online.