02 May ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO ANNOUNCES MODERNIZATION OF ESSEX COUNTY CODEY ARENA RINK 1 IS UNDERWAY New Refrigeration System will Operate more Efficiently and Provide Better Ice Surface for Skaters
West Orange, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that a $2.8 million project to modernize Rink 1 in Essex County Codey Arena was underway on Tuesday, May 2nd. The new refrigeration system will enable the arena to operate more efficiently and will provide a better ice skating surface. This is the first major renovation of Rink 1 since the facility opened in 1958.
“We upgraded the refrigeration system in Rink 2 and added a 10,000-square-foot addition to enhance accommodations to transform Codey Arena into a modern venue for ice skating, hockey and a multitude of non-ice events. Replacing the refrigeration system in Rink 1 is the last major improvement that is needed, and will enable us to operate more efficiently and provide our skaters with first-class conditions in which to skate,” DiVincenzo said. “This will be a major inconvenience to the schools, recreations programs and individuals that utilize our arena. We appreciate their understanding and patience during construction,” he said.
“My daughter skated here when she was young so it’s exciting to see all the improvements being done. I want to thank Joe DiVincenzo for bringing everything up to date,” Freeholder Patricia Sebold said.
The existing refrigeration system was installed when the arena opened 59 years ago and is no longer operating at optimum capacity. In order to replace the original refrigeration system, the dasher boards and glass, and concrete floor under the ice surface were removed. After the refrigeration system is completed, new concrete flooring, rubber matting, dasher boards and glass will be installed. In addition, a new video board will be installed. A similar project to upgrade the refrigeration system in Rink 2, which originally opened in 1983, was completed in 2012.
News of the modernization project was well-received by the many clubs and organizations that utilize the arena.
“Seeing the arena entrance boarded up is like waiting for an artist to unveil his masterpiece. The excitement to see the upgraded facility is growing,” said retired NJ Devils player Grant Marshall, who teaches skating classes at Codey Arena. “This was the first building I came to when I was traded to the Devils and it’s always been such a welcoming place,” he added.
“The improvements being made underscore the importance of a facility like this for young skaters and adult skaters. It makes it possible for future dreams to be made, for an opportunity for exercise and better health, and for entertainment,” said Olympic Champion JoJo Starbuck, who teaches adult skating classes at Codey Arena.
“The Essex County Skating Club is celebrating its 65th anniversary and all of those years have been in this arena. We are proud that our home is being renovated because it enhances the facilities for our skaters and it makes sure our home continues to be state-of-the-art,” Essex Skating Club President Lynn Gordon said.
“Without the County, the New Jersey Daredevils would not exist. And when we are here, our athletes are treated like family,” NJ Daredevils Head Coach Steve Ritter said. “So we are excited about the improvements to the rink because we will have a brand new platform to showcase our athletes,” he added.
“I grew up skating here and it’s amazing to see the transformation. We are looking forward to the upgraded rink,” said Heidi Vanderhoof of the Essex Special Skaters Program.
“On behalf of the Essex County Athletic Directors, we want to thank Joe DiVincenzo for all the things that are being done throughout the parks system. Our student-athletes are in the parks and they reap the benefits of the improvements,” said Nutley High School Athletic Director Joseph Piro, who also serves as President of the Essex County Athletic Directors Association. “Not many people think about holding a wrestling tournament in an ice rink, but events like that display the versatility of this arena,” he added.
Garden State Speedskating Club President Tony Lui said the club was formed three years ago, capitalizing on interest from the Winter Olympics. “We are now the largest speedskating club on the East Coast and it is because of Codey Arena and the support we receive from Essex County,” he noted.
The Arena hosts the New Jersey Devils Youth Hockey Club, the New Jersey Daredevils Hockey Club, Special Olympic Skaters, The Essex Skating Club of New Jersey, Essex County High School Hockey Teams, New Jersey Interscholastic High School League Cup Playoffs, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship Playoffs, adult hockey clubs and many youth recreational teams. Special events hosted at the Arena include the Essex County Athletic Directors Wrestling Tournament, High School Commencement Ceremonies, Essex Skating Club Winter ESCapade, the NJSIAA Ice Hockey Tournament and several major corporate fundraising galas.
Becht Engineering of Liberty Corner received a $145,300 contract to design the upgrades. Colonnelli Brothers of Hackensack received a publicly bid contract for $2,676,567 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works is monitoring the project to ensure delays are avoided. The project is being funded through the Essex County Capital Budget and with a grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. Construction started in March 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by September 2017.
The arena opened in 1958 and an addition with a second ice rink was built in 1983. In 2005, an $11 million project to build a 10,000-square-foot addition in front of the facility was completed. It houses a room that is rented for a goalie school, skate rental area, food concession area, party rooms and administrative offices. In addition, existing locker rooms, offices, bathrooms and skate rental area were renovated and the building was made ADA compliant. Outdoor repairs were made to the masonry, roof, doors, windows, lighting and HVAC, and a 3,360-square-foot addition for new locker rooms and storage was built. The project was funded with grants from the State of New Jersey, the Essex County Open Space Trust Fund and the Casino Reinvestment Development Corporation, and the Essex County Capital Budget. New kitchen equipment for the concession stand was installed in 2007.