Ken Walsh, left, CEO of the Alfond Youth & Community Center, and Paul Boudreau, chairman of the steering committee for an ice rink and recreational arena planned for Waterville, speaks Monday at a news conference at the Alfond Youth Center. Walsh and Boudreau used the gathering to thank representatives of Ware-Butler Building Supply for the company’s $100,000 donation to help build the ice and recreational facility planned for North Street. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Ware-Butler Building Supply announced Monday it will donate $100,000 to the Alfond Youth & Community Center in Waterville to go toward construction of an enclosed ice rink and recreational arena.

The donation brings the amount to $3 million raised for the facility, according to Paul Boudreau, chairman of the steering committee for the project. The cost of the rink and arena was estimated at about $7 million before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

“Your gift is crucial to us both in terms of adding to the money in the race, but also as a signal to others in the community, to other business people in the community, that hey, you know, I should get on this train and be part of this,” Boudreau said to Ware-Butler representatives at a news conference at the Alfond Youth Center, 126 North St.

Ken Walsh, CEO of the Alfond Youth Center, said he hopes ground will be broken for the ice rink and recreational arena within the next 18 months. Once construction begins, the facility should take about a year to complete, he said.

The facility is expected to have a full sheet of ice five months of the year and house a turf field the rest of the year. It is to include arena seating, locker rooms, bathrooms and space for maintenance and support.

The plan is to build the arena on North Street, where youth soccer fields are now located. The soccer fields would be moved to the Pine Ridge Recreation Area, off West River Road. The move is expected to include field upgrades by the city.

Part of the motivation for the project was to return Waterville to its history as a hockey town, but the need for an ice arena was highlighted when the coronavirus pandemic hit and many colleges stopped offering their ice for high school sports.

“We’ve been talking about this for quite a while,” former Waterville City Manager Mike Roy said. “It’s finally become obvious to us that we need to do something because Waterville has a huge, huge tradition of skating.”

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