City hopes to have Sullivan Arena open for fall hockey season

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:18 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Crews are working to get the Sullivan Arena back open to the public after it was used as a mass care homeless shelter for nearly two years.

Anchorage Director of Maintenance and Operations Saxton Shearer said his department is also using the opportunity to address other long-standing issues with the 32-year-old building.

“Our philosophy is to preserve the infrastructure and prepare it back for community gatherings and its intended use as an entertainment space,” Shearer said.

Shearer’s department has asked the Anchorage Assembly to allocate $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds to pay for the repairs, which Shearer said are considered a high priority.

About half of the funding will go to repairs that are a direct result of housing hundreds of people at the shelter — replacing doors and windows, repairs to bathrooms, and a deep cleaning of all surfaces. The rest of the money is earmarked for things like new lighting, sprinkler system upgrades, and replacing the air handling system.

Shearer said they received some good news recently, the vendor that installed the ice system at the arena recently flew up to assess the system that hasn’t operated in two years. Shearer said they were relieved to hear it wouldn’t be a major expense to get it up and running.

“We are not too far off from activating the ice plant, so we are in good shape,” Shearer said.

Shearer said the hope is to have the Sullivan ice ready for the public by early September.

“We are shooting for the fall hockey season for all the different figure skating groups, hockey groups, that’s our internal goal is to get prepared for that demand.”

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