CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - Erik Hudson, the general manager at ImOn Ice says it's a huge relief to see the transformation of the arena since the derecho devastated the building on Aug. 10.
"Coming here the first day after the derecho, my heart dropped," Hudson said.
The storm ripped off roofing panels over both ice rinks, took down the entire west wall, gusts of wind and rain water brought even more damage to the city-owned facility.
The building was closed since the start of the pandemic in March for infrastructure updates. After the derecho, it took around two months for the arena to find a company specializing in natural disaster relief clean-up.
Now, they are working through a two phase construction process.
"Phase one really focuses on the community spaces, the lobby, getting this side up and running first so we have a usable building," Hudson said, "phase two focuses on the Olympic sheet of ice which will take a little bit longer because it sustained way more damage than this side of the ice."
Figure skaters, hockey players, curlers and anyone who enjoys time in the rink will be welcomed back in the next few weeks, by late February or early March. They can expect similar costs and COVID-19 precautions to be in place.
"It's been a long process, it's been a year, long nights, early mornings, for me, my crew, the contractors, we've been working around the clock to try to get this place back and ready," Hudson said.
This week, ImOn Ice plans to start building ice on the NHL rink putting them one step closer to reopening their doors.