HALLOWELL — The groundbreaking was Feb. 16, when a few hundred curious onlookers converged on Whitten Road to get a sense, if not quite a look, at the future of hockey and skating in the area.

On April 25, workers poured concrete over refrigerant pipes as the base of the mostly pre-fabricated Bank of Maine Ice Vault formed.

In the weeks and months that followed, the arena took form — from the structural insulated panels to the second floor mezzanine section.

On Saturday morning, the doors to the $4 million Bank of Maine Ice Vault finally opened.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,” said figure skater Laura Blackstone, 15, of Augusta, who’s been with the Skating Association of Maine for about nine years. “It’s great to finally be back on the ice. It’s just awesome.”

Figure skaters with the Skating Association of Maine were the first to test the new ice surface, use some of the six spacious locker rooms and get a feel for the vast Whitten Road facility that was built on site of the old Kennebec Ice Arena, which collapsed March 2, 2011, under the weight of heavy snow and ice.

A grand opening is scheduled for Old Hallowell Day on July 21.

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