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Workers cement a future for ice rink

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Mark Burner polishes the newconcrete floor of the NHL sized hockey rink at the Aspen Recreation Center Wednesday afternoon. Paul Conrad photo.
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The tedious project of pouring and leveling a perfectly flat slab of concrete for Aspen’s new NHL-sized hockey rink was completed on Wednesday.

Thirty-five cement trucks came upvalley from LaFarge Concrete in Carbondale, perfectly timed to lay out the slab in one continuous pour. According to Dave Maurer, the project superintendent from Commercial Refrigeration, 308 cubic yards of cement were poured for the rink.

Laser beams were used to level out the cement, until it was no more than one-eighth of an inch more or less than level, Maurer said. The work began at 3:30 a.m., prepping for the trucks that started arriving at 5:30 a.m.

By 1:30 p.m. the 20 men who stood ankle-deep in wet cement were leveling out the last corner of the rink just before taking a break for pizza.

The rink’s new slab will take 21 days of “cure time” to firmly set until vehicles can be driven across it, Maurer said. Just before Maurer revisits Aspen in late January to turn on the rink’s refrigeration system, trucks will pull onto the slab to install the room’s lighting system high above.

The flooring of the rink is almost 2 feet deep, said Steve Bossart, project manager for the Aspen Recreation Center. That includes levels of sand, heat piping to keep the ground from becoming too cold, more sand and a layer of insulation and finally the refrigeration pipes.

According to Maurer there is 60,000 feet of refrigeration pipes in the rink ? about 11.5 miles of pipe. The cement is 6 inches thick, and 1 inch of ice will eventually be on top.

After smoothing out the cement with brushes and using the laser beams as guides, workers glided over the concrete at one end, “polishing” the surface to make sure it is completely smooth. The concrete will be painted white before it’s covered with ice, Maurer said.

The day’s project was expected to last until 10 p.m., since it needed to be completed before the cement hardened. Maurer said he’d be back in Aspen by Jan. 23 to start up the rink’s refrigeration unit.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]


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