By Don Nelson
Murphy’s Law continues to plague the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink (WISR).
After many delays, the refrigeration equipment that will allow the rink to manufacture ice arrived and was installed last week.
But there are problems.
WISR board president Jill Calvert met with board members this week to update them on progress — and lack thereof — in the refrigeration installation efforts.
Calvert said there are three compressors that are part of the chiller equipment.
“The first one works fine and is fully functional and operational,” Calvert said. “We could even make ice with just that one if the temperatures are not too warm. Direct sun would be a problem.”
However, she said, the second compressor has a broken part and doesn’t work at all. A replacement part has been ordered but its delivery time is uncertain.
The third compressor works but is low on glycol, the refrigerant liquid it uses, because not enough was shipped with the equipment, Calvert said. Additional glycol has been ordered.
Calvert said the rink’s opening now depends on when the necessary materials arrive, and whether the compressors will then function properly. Then an ice surface will need to be built up.
“I think once in motion we can build all the ice we need in 24-plus hours,” Calvert said.
Timing is crucial because WISR has an adult hockey tournament scheduled for Feb. 18 – 20. About a dozen teams are expected to participate, Calvert said.
That rink opened on Christmas Day with a natural ice surface, then was closed after warmer weather caused the ice to deteriorate. The rink has lost an estimated $25,000 in revenues so far this season, and had at least one youth hockey tournament cancelled.
In addition to the refrigeration equipment, which will allow WISR to extend its season at both ends no matter what the weather brings, the main building was expanded and rental facilities, changing rooms and the viewing area were all upgraded.
The rink is owned by the Town of Winthrop and operated under contract by the nonprofit WISR board. State grants and local contributions of labor and materials to build the rink, and to later add new facilities and the refrigeration equipment, come to about $1 million.