Inside the Mountain America Center at the Hero Arena. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — The incoming event center in Idaho Falls hit a major milestone Friday after concrete was poured to form the base of the ice rink that will allow hockey players to glide across it while spectators cheer them on.
The Mountain America Center is expected to open to the public in late November and is located at Snake River Landing at 1960 Event Center Drive.
The ice rink will host the new hockey team, the Idaho Falls Spud Kings, which is a United States Premier Hockey League Junior A hockey franchise.
Construction workers took at least five hours to pour and smooth out the concrete Friday. The space the rink is located is called the Hero Arena, which will host not only the team but a wide variety of events.
“Even though you see a hockey rink being formed today, that is going to account for 15% of the activity in this center. So the center is going to bring in concerts, comedy acts, monster truck shows, rodeos, basketball and state tournaments. Anything you can imagine, we can host here,” said Rob Spear, executive director of the Idaho Falls Auditorium District.
Starting at the end of November, all the way through 2024, the Mountain America Center is already packed with booked events. There will be around 150 shows or events per year.
The Mountain America Center is prepared to welcome over 150,000 visitors through the doors each year.
There are 28,000 total square feet of event space. The arena will have the capability to hold up to 6,000 people.
“The floor itself is 17,000 square feet, and then it’s an additional 11,000 square feet on the exterior of the ice floor,” said Erik Hudson, general manager of the Mountain America Center. “We are going to build an inch of ice over the top of the concrete floor.”
Hudson explained to EastIdahoNews.com that the concrete has to sit for about a month before the ice can be placed on it.
“What’s important about this is that this concrete cures properly. It’s a 28-day curing process because of the temperature change because of the weight capacity limits. We need to ensure that it has the maximum strength possible,” he said.
Additionally, there will be five permanent concession stands near the arena that will include an array of food like mac and cheese, loaded tater tots, barbecue, hand-crafted sodas and poutine. There will also be portable food carts.
Hudson said the announcement about the specific concessions stands will happen in mid-August.
As for the big events coming to the Mountain America Center, Hudson said there would be a major event announcement on Monday at 10 a.m.
The Mountain America Center. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
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