Dakota Curling – Lakeville, Minnesota USA

Plans for our Lakeville building!

These are certainly exciting times for Dakota Curling.  After 11 years of curling on arena ice, and 5 years of collaborating, planning, and negotiating with a great organization in Lakeville, we are moving into a dedicated curling facility! I thought it might be beneficial to briefly describe what the building will look like, and what you can expect when you come to curl there for the very first time.

First of all, we are patterning our club after a traditional, grass-roots, member-driven curling club. All of our funding is from private and membership sources, there is no assistance from any government (or other) body, and everything in the club is driven by its members. This means that you can simply show-up and watch curling or socialize anytime you want, with no obligation to buy anything, or feel you are “in the way”.  It also means if you see something that needs attention, you can take care of it with a minimum of fuss, regulation, or permissions.  This club is really driven by curlers, for curlers.

So, to the plans for the building itself.

The current space is used by a hockey training organization, and contains a mini-hockey rink. This rink is too small for curling, so it will be completely removed, along with the ice plant currently there (we need an ice plant with greater capabilities).  I have been asked if our new space is really an existing ice rink that we are taking over. Absolutely not. Our Lakeville facility is a custom-installed, dedicated curling-ice facility, with equipment and ice made to curling-only specification. We are working with some of the best ice technicians we can find, both locally and from other parts of the USA and Canada, so we expect really good ice.

There is a wall that must be removed to open-up the space to allow 6 full-size curling sheets to be installed, and a new wall built to enclose the warm room, which will run along the side of the ice shed (a big warm room!).  The current pans call for a bar, kitchen area, storage, bathrooms, locker rooms – all the necessities of a curling club.

By now, you are thinking “how on earth can I watch curling form the side?”, so I should tell you about the second viewing area at the end of the ice shed.  There is large entry way running along the western end of the ice, and this will allow viewing from the end of each sheet.  This will be a warmed area too, although probably not quite as cozy as the warm room described earlier. It also means you have to walk to the warm room to get a drink, then carry it back to your seat. Oh, the hardship!

So, you can view form the warm-room at the side, and from one end of the ice shed. 2 viewing locations, both very comfortable. But we also are planning a third viewing option.

In working with competitive curlers and their coaches, we know it is advantageous for a viewing area to be above and behind the end of each sheet, so we are installing a raised viewing area on the eastern end of the ice shed. This will probably be inside the ice shed to facilitate communication between coaches and their players, although we may decide to enclose and heat it. This location will also serve as the best location for officials to time competition games.

To summarize, this is a custom installation dedicated to curling, with a nice warm-room, bar, and food capability, and viewing from 3 sides.

Watch this space for more details, including a schematic of the building in the next little while. I will also post pictures as we start making progress on the building and ice installation.  January is coming fast, and we have a lot to do to open!

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