Renovation goes ahead
Arena finally gets long-awaited facelift

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Sep 30/98) - It's been a long time coming.

But Rankin Inlet residents are finally getting the renovations to the community arena that has been on the books for more than five years, said recreation co-ordinator Rick Denison.

"It got pushed back every year...and here we are, it's 1998," he said. "It's a disappointment to the community because the renovations have taken so long. Then it was supposed to start a month ago, but they had to wait for other materials...not all of them are on site."

Construction is set to begin this week on the $480,000 project that will bring the building up to fire safety standards and make major improvements to the appearance of the building.

Fire safety upgrades include improving accessibility of fire exits, the fuel supply (new above-ground tank), new emergency lights, new smoke and heat detectors and a new fire alarm system.

"All the work that's going to be done has to do with upgrading the fire standards," said Denison. "The new alarm will be an automatic dialler -- it will notify that something is happening up there."

Other improvements include replacing the bathrooms and renovating the lobby and the auditorium.

"We're hoping to put up some murals," he said. "We're hoping to beef it up."

Denison said that the renovation work will close their facility until Nov. 1 when the improvements are scheduled to be nearing completion. He hopes it doesn't inconvenience the community.

"As far as dances and stuff go, we might have to suffer for a while," he said. "That's where we have to come up with some creative programming. But hopefully, the short-term suffering will be worth the long-term improvements."

Denison doesn't expect that it will impact the hockey schedule, but bingo events that are usually held at the arena will be going ahead at the school for the next few weeks.

"We appreciate the understanding of the public," he added.