SHERIDAN — The local ice rink received new owners Wednesday night, twice. Whitney Benefits gifted Sheridan Ice to Sheridan College which accepted the gift and immediately passed it along to Sheridan on Skates, the local nonprofit that has been operating the rink under Whitney’s ownership.
During the Northern Wyoming Community College District Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday night, the board voted unanimously on a two-part motion to receive and then transfer the rink after a recommendation from Sheridan College President Dr. Paul Young.
“Sheridan on Skates is the local nonprofit with a proven track record of successfully scheduling the activities and essentially running that operation,” Young said. “Sheridan College has a long-standing partnership with Sheridan on Skates and has an obvious interest in continuing what has been a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Young added that along with access to the rink, the college is exploring a club hockey team.
“We are involved in many enterprises within the community — a new involvement at the WYO, we have our culinary institute downtown, we built a new arena which we’re going to operate for the betterment of the community on the north end of town, the (simulation) center with the hospital — there are lots of activities we do,” Young said. “We believe they can run it, they can operate it and will be better at that, and we will still have access to it, and our plate’s full with things we are owning and operating already. In a case like this when you have a group that is really ready and willing I think that would be the best disposition of this property.”
Trustee Jerry Iekel supported Young’s thoughts.
“I believe this is a good thing that points to our partnership with the community that goes two ways all the time and I think this is a very reasonable thing to do,” Iekel said.
Sheridan on Skates board member Charley Whiton attended the meeting and thanked the board for their confidence and gift.
The group has big plans for the rink already in place, including roofing and expanding the facility.
They have already launched a capital fundraising campaign seeking to raise $6 million — $1 million to come from the community with a 5:1 match grant from a “lead donor”— which will cover the cost of building the facility, adding restrooms, a public area, locker rooms and equipment and building an endowment of $2 million to maintain it in the years to come.
As of Aug. 28, $540,000 of the $1 million had been raised.
Plans call for construction to break ground in the middle of March 2015 and for skaters to be active indoors by next October.
In other business:
• Dr. Paul Young has been named the new head of the President’s Council.
• The board approved the re-appointment of Sheridan businessman Ken Thorpe as an at-large member of the Sheridan Education and Economic Development Authority.
• Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Richard Hall provided an update on assessment results and future plans for college assessments.