A new opportunity for winter fun—despite COVID-19—has been constructed on the Green by a crew from Dartmouth's Facilities Operations & Management. When the anticipated drop in temperature finally arrived on Jan. 26, two skating rinks were ready for students, faculty, and staff to glide on.
The rinks are open only to students, faculty, and staff currently approved to be on campus, and all COVID-19 guidelines, such as wearing masks and physical distancing, must be followed, including completing a TSA form beforehand.
Construction of the 120-by-60 foot rinks began over two weeks ago on Jan. 11. The crew put a dense 2-foot wood-chip base on top of a swath of landscape fabric, and then the chips were compacted with steamrollers by an outside contractor. The 5-foot plastic sideboards click together and are held in place with a bracket-and-anti-stretch-strap-system that criss-crosses the rinks in two directions. The system, called EZ-Ice, eliminates the need for any tools or other bracing. After the crew covered the rinks with a reflective, impermeable, and seamless 6 mil tri-layer poly liner and clipped the liner to the sideboards, the rinks were ready to fill with up to 6" of water. The pressure from the water and ice is transferred to the boards, then to the brackets, and then to the straps and resists the weight of the water on the opposite side—the engineering principle of tension.
Hockey and figure skates, stored in a trailer near the rinks, are available, so it's a perfect time for the experienced or the inexperienced to bunny-hop, or carefully wobble, onto the ice for a spin.