Fairfax County's first public ice skating rink, in the 87-acre Mount Vernon District Park, will open tomorrow for skating and tours.
The $2.1-million facility, at Belle View Boulevard and Fort Hunt Road, has an 85- by 100-foot rink area, a pro shop, skate rental, a sharpening area, a snack bar and a first aid room. It also has team rooms, a locker room, ice hockey player boxes, scoreboard, bleachers to seat 400 and a community room.
The Park Authority will open its doors to the public at 9 a.m.; skating beginning at 9:30 a.m. Admission to skate is $1.75 for adults and $1 for children. Skate rental fee is 85 cents; price reductions are available to low-income residents.
Free non-skating tours of the complex will begin at noon tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday and continue until 8 p.m. each day. Registration for skating instruction also will be open tomorrow.
The official dedication will be held at 7 p.m. March 10. Taking part in the ceremony will be John F. Herrity, chairman of the county board of supervisors; Warren Cikins, Mount Vernon supervisor, and Glenn Fatzinger, a member of Mount Vernon Park Authority Board.
Fatzinger this week lauded the efforts of Mount Vernon citizens groups and individuals who campaigned for more than five years for the rink's construction. "There's no finer ice rink in the Northern Virginia area," he said. Cikins concurred, saying that the park will be an asset to all of Fairfax County.
The 400,000-square-foot building is constructed of steel, concrete block and stucco and is designed for year-round use. The ice rink has special access for the elderly and the handicapped and the parking area off Fort Hunt Road has space for 183 cars.
The rink originally was proposed in 1971 as a much larger facility, with a studio rink for learners as well as the regular rink, that would have cost $2 million. A study in 1973 indicated that escalating construction and operating costs would double the amount needed to build the facilities originally proposed.
Funding for the ice rink was provided through a general obligation park bond and park authority revenues, but cost projections and usage studies delayed the project five years. The board of supervisors gave final approval to the project in July 1976 and construction began that September.
During construction of the two-tiered parking area, members of the Mount Vernon Council of Civic Associations objected to the removal of trees on the site. The park authority, in response to the council's request, added a number of large shade trees and several small, flowering trees to landscaping plans. The plans now call for planting to screen the lot from Belle View Road and nearby homes.
Annual operating costs of the rink are estimated at $275,000. "The operation and maintenance are to be paid from the fees collected at the rink," according to Joseph P. Downs, director of the Park Authority.
Within the park area are bike, hiking and nature trails. The rink, snack bar and restrooms are designed to serve skaters and those using the park area.
Skating hours tentatively set by the Park AUthority are 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. On weekends and holidays the rink will open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A disco night will be held each Friday beginning at 9:30 p.m. The rink will be available for patch figures and free style practice between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays on a first-come, first-served basis.
Instructors will be available and schedules will be arranged. Discount booklets of 10 tickets, group rates and senior citizen fees are available on request.
Project consultants for design and construction of the facilities were Ellerbe Architects of Washington D.C., Patton, Harris, Rust and Guy Engineering Associates of Fairfax, E.C.B. Engineers of Falls CHurch, Ahrendt Engineering of Illinois and Buchart-Horn of Pennsylvania and Schnable Engineering Associates, Bethesda. The general contractor for the project was Jack Bays, Inc. of McLean. Construction superintendent for the Park Authority was Jay Jorgensen.