Mar 14 2012 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Time Capsule Ice Rink
THE ice rink at the Time Capsule is set to reopen in October after being closed for two-and-a-half-years, writes Judith Tonner.
A refurbishment costing £1.8 million will get underway next month, marking the second phase of improvements at the Coatbridge attraction following 2010’s leisure pool upgrade.
It comes as good news for the dedicated young members of North Lanarkshire figure skating club – who are currently making 6am starts to train in Edinburgh before school, due to the closure.
The rink’s planned reopening has gained a celebrity seal of approval from twice European bronze medallist and seven-time British champion Sinead Kerr, who trained at the Time Capsule early in her career.
She said: “I’m really happy to hear about this exciting new project to re-open the ice rink and it sounds like a lot of thought is going into redesigning it to make it a great training and recreational facility.
“North Lanarkshire has produced many good competitive figure skaters, so having a rink at the Time Capsule again will provide many more people with the opportunity to try the sport.”
Sinead added: “I skated at the old Time Capsule rink when I was younger and I look forward to trying out the new one when it’s been fully revamped.”
North Lanarkshire Leisure will carry out a 20-week programme to restore and enlarge the ice pad, creating a “more conventional” shape for the finished facility.
The start of the project next month will come exactly two years after the rink closed due to “exceptional” damage to its concrete base and because of new European regulations affecting the ice-making plant facilities.
It was feared at one stage that refurbishing the ice rink could prove too costly, with councillors requesting quotes in September, 2010, for the area’s possible conversion into a soft play facility.
However, the full upgrade is set to get underway including the installation of new sound and lighting systems, replacement barriers and an improved cafe.
Figure skating club coach Gemma Stark and her dedicated young athletes are eagerly anticipating the restoration of an ice rink on their home turf.
Gemma said: “The girls are incredibly dedicated to get up so early to train at Murrayfield ice rink before and after school.
“They compete at national level, train for up to three hours at a time six-times-a-week both on and off the ice and currently use the Time Capsule gym and halls to work on their fitness.
“It will make such a difference to their training to have the ice rink here reopening – we’re all really excited about it and just can’t wait.”
North Lanarkshire Leisure chairman Jim Logue, the Airdrie Central councillor, said: “To make this happen in the current economic environment has been a real achievement.
“We are all excited at bringing skating back to North Lanarkshire and providing top-class leisure facilities for local residents and Time Capsule visitors.”