Bonner, Boundary, Sanders County

Bonner County

Ice Arena

What does an Ice skating rink include ?

Site Renderings


Fundraising Phases

Operating Costs

what does an ice skating rink include?

Our climate necessitates that the Bonner County Ice Arena have a “chiller” or what is known as an ice plant. This is a giant freezer which holds the ice by pumping material through pipes underneath the concrete of the skating surface. This is a very expensive piece of equipment. However, newer technology means that these systems are environmentally friendly (no ozone depleting gases or dangerous substances involved), long-lived, and relatively inexpensive to operate. Without a chiller, we would suffer inconsistent availability of ice and thus income, so this is not feasible. Spending the money – on the front-end- for newer and extremely efficient equipment, will greatly reduce the cost of operation, maintenance and repair – on the back-end.

In addition to the ice plant, an arena consists of the large oval concrete ice surface and dasher boards (boards with Plexiglas that surround the skating surface), and a Zamboni – the ice maintenance truck. All of this must be contained in an insulated building to reduce operating costs and provide for a consistent ice season. The inclusion of a small office, a skate rental area, and a warming room and bathrooms represents our minimal project goal. Final completion of this community building would further include public viewing stands, locker rooms, and a concessions area. This represents our final project goal.

The last of the requirements for the ice skating rink includes lit parking and areas for storm water, snow removal, and public use. We will plan for the addition of a second sheet of ice in the future as our ice plant can easily operate two sheets.. This addition is commonly needed within 5 to 10 years due to population growth and growth in the excitement and use of the Bonner County Ice Arena.

site renderings

What will the Bonner County Ice Arena look like ?

Artist’s Rendering

The proposed Bonner County Ice Arena to be located at Field of Dreams, Ponderay, Idaho (Thank you Tom Russell).

These renderings do not necessarily represent our final plan, but rather show our current vision. The location at the Ponderay Field of Dreams allows room for expansion to two sheets of ice in the future.  Our building design is copied from the Manchester Ice Arena in McCall, Idaho – a town in a significantly smaller community – which is thriving and enthusiastically supports their facility.  Several years ago, the town of Hailey, Idaho, also copied this design which is now the Hailey Ice House.

Our team has visited hundreds of ice areas over many years and there are a plethora of designs and concepts. Our goal is to avoid “reinventing the wheel” and simply copy a proven design from a similar community. Therefore, we have based our design on “Manchester Ice Arena” in McCall, Idaho.

Since our decision to copy McCall’s ice arena, the city of Hailey Idaho has completed the “Hailey Ice House” which is virtually another copy of this design. This further steels our resolve that our design choice is appropriate and sustainable. A video tour (below) of the Hailey Ice House was created to show board members what our plan looked like.


Rendering of the proposed ice area showing offices, skate rental, concessions, spectator seating, bathrooms and locker rooms. Note that this is the lay-out of both the McCall and Hailey, Idaho Ice Arenas. Note, this is not a construction blueprint, but represents our current goal (Thank you Tom Russell).


Where will this facility be located?

Our plan is to build the Bonner County Ice Arena on land owned by the City of Ponderay – at the Field of Dreams. We believe this location is perfect.

More details coming soon

Fundraising phases

We are currently working on the design of the Bonner County Ice Arena and once we have blueprints and construction commitments, we can formulate more accurate estimates. At this time, please understand, our estimates are based on McCall’s and Hailey’s efforts.


About: Bonner County Ice Arena

Operating Costs

What Will be the Costs of Operation?

Cost estimates for facility operation are not completed at this time and will vary depending on the final structure, the efficiency of the particular ice plant obtained, etc… We do know that this facility will be able to fund it’s own operational and maintenance costs. Community facilities, such as this, do very well when they are NOT trying to pay a mortgage. This is why most of these facilities are community-based and receive public support during construction. This is also why we are determined to build our facility with donations and grants and so not secure any loans.

We have data from Whitefish, Montana and from Post Falls, Idaho that clearly show income supporting operational costs, salaries, maintenance expenses, and paying into savings for future capital improvements. The greatest illustration that operational costs will not be a concern is the fact that McCall, Idaho has years of success under it’s belt – in a much smaller community (Salmon, Idaho is another example- an even smaller town).

McCall is extremely supportive of their facility which has become a mainstay of winter-time events in their town.
Sandpoint is roughly three times larger than McCall, while Bonner County is over four times more populous than McCall’s Valley County.
The most glaring difference between the two communities is that Sandpoint’s poverty rate is twice that of McCall’s.
This fact illustrates why inexpensive and engaging activities for youth, of all ages and socioeconomic groups, are even more critical for Bonner County.

Figure 1. Comparative statistics of the cities of McCall (Valley County) and Sandpoint (Bonner County), Idaho.*



City Population



Growth Rate



Size Rank in Idaho



Average Age



Mean Annual Income



Poverty Rate



County Population



* from “”

** Growth Rate 29% since 2010

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Sandpoint, ID 83864