WEST ORANGE, NJ — On Thursday, Nov. 9, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. announced that a $2.8 million project to modernize Rink 1 at Codey Arena is complete. The new refrigeration system will enable the arena to operate more efficiently and will provide a better ice skating surface. This is the first major renovation of Rink 1 since the facility opened in 1958.
“Replacing the refrigeration system in Rink 1 was a necessary improvement that has immediately provided first-class skating conditions and enhanced safety for our skaters,” DiVincenzo said. “Through the years, we have upgraded our skating facility with a new 10,000-square-foot lobby and a new refrigeration system in Rink 2. The work we did in Rink 1 means the arena is now a completely modernized venue.”
“Everyone is so thrilled with the renovations. It is joy to come here,” said former Olympian JoJo Starbuck, who is an ice skating teacher at the arena. “Not many rinks have such great natural light like here and now the quality of the ice is great.”
“We are committed to supporting and growing the game of hockey, and having a facility like this will only help us in our continued efforts. We are pleased to be a partner with Essex County,” Jeff Scott of the NJ Devils grassroots program said.
Also attending the ribbon cutting were skaters from the Bravo Theater on Ice and NJ Speedskating programs.
The refrigeration system that was removed had been installed when the arena opened 59 years ago and was no longer operating at optimum capacity. In order to replace the original refrigeration system, the dasher boards and glass, and concrete floor under the ice surface were removed. A new refrigeration system was installed underground along with new concrete flooring, rubber matting, dasher boards and glass. In addition, a new video board with a higher definition and clearer picture replaced the old scoreboard. A similar project to upgrade the refrigeration system in Rink 2, which originally opened in 1983, was completed in 2012.
The arena hosts the New Jersey Devils Youth Hockey Club, the New Jersey Daredevils Hockey Club, Special Olympic Skaters, the Essex Skating Club of New Jersey, Essex County high school hockey teams, New Jersey Interscholastic High School League Cup Playoffs, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship Playoffs, adult hockey clubs and many youth recreational teams. Special events hosted at the arena include the county Athletic Directors Wrestling Tournament, high school commencement ceremonies, Essex Skating Club Winter ESCapade, the NJSIAA Ice Hockey Tournament and several major corporate fundraising galas.
Becht Engineering of Liberty Corner received a $145,300 contract to design the upgrades. Colonnelli Brothers of Hackensack received a publicly bid contract for $2,676,567 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works monitored the project to ensure delays were avoided. The project was funded through the Essex County capital budget and with a grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. Construction started in March 2017 and was completed in seven months.