New Clubs – The “Columbus Model”

Building a Curling Club

In an ideal world, each club would have their own dedicated building and space for their club activities.  However, this usually isn’t feasible for newer clubs.  With the recent growth of curling, we have seen unprecedented amounts of new clubs both nationally and globally.  The typical startup club doesn’t have too many options and usually clubs will often start on arena ice.

This is a great way for clubs to start to build interest and get people curling.  However, this also produces a few issues that really hinder the long term success of arena clubs.  The problem with arena ice in this manner is it is near impossible to maintain properly for curling and usually curling takes a back seat to everything else at the ice arena.  The combination of bad ice conditions, inconvenient times and expensive rental time makes it hard for the new club to grow and prosper.

Wouldn’t it be great if their was a model that a new club could reference to build their own dedicated space?  There is and the Columbus Curling Club has found a way! This same method can be used for current clubs to grow and expand as well!

Dedicated Space – Lease Option

If you can’t buy a house, what do you do for a place to live?  You rent!   In the past, the costs to renovate the space and to create the ice field usually makes renting or leasing cost prohibitive in a building that is not a permanent home.

However, with new technology that is available, this is now a viable option with a track record of success.

Leasing provides relatively small startup costs while still providing the convenience and effectiveness of a dedicated space.  In the current economy, you’ll be hard pressed not to find distressed properties available for lease.

When looking for a space, there a just a few requirements.  The space must be zoned properly, have enough space to create the number of sheets, have a warm area and plenty of storage.  We’ll be looking into this more and gathering additional requirements over the next couple years.

Equipment, Materials and Technology

So how do we create a cost effective ice field in a leased space?

The IceMat simple design results in years of trouble-free use. Each mat is modular in design so that your rink size can be increased or decreased at any time. The mats roll out like carpet over the floor and then roll back up when not in use.

The ICEMAT produces an ice field that not only produces good conditions, but it typically saves in annual operating costs as well.  This also provides the ability to expand as needed.

In addition to the floor and ice sheet, other considerations must be evaluated as well. An ALUMA-ZORB Ceiling Curtain, with an emissivity of 4 to 5 percent, will stop 95 percent of this energy-robbing heat radiation to the ice surface.

Hopefully we’ll continue to add to this as we investigate more options and learn about the process.

Sample Use Cases

Columbus Curling Club –

In November 2008, the Columbus Curling Club completed their own two-sheet dedicated curling facility in leased warehouse space.  Their total upfront cost for this project was $150,000 and took 5 months to complete. Within a year, they expanded to 3 sheets and are currently beginning plans and fundraising to purchase their own building.
Contact: Stu Cohen

Evergreen Curling Club LogoEvergreen Curling Club –

Congratulations are in order to the Evergreen Curling Club in Portland, OR for following this model and beginning their construction this year.  They plan to be open and ready for this season in October!  Their plan was name “Dedicated Ice in a Year (DIY)” and they accomplished it based on the results from the Columbus Curling Club.

Their project was estimated at roughly $385,000 in startup costs for a 4 sheet facility.  Based on expectations, they decided to start with 2 sheets (saving $32,000) and use their great members for volunteer work ($79,000) reducing their startup costs.

Contact: Bruce Irvin

 View a Presentation of their Model (pdf)

Future Curling Clubs

While every curling club will not be able to follow this model precisely, it now has a proven track record with the success of the Columbus Curling Club and the current construction of the Evergreen Curling Club.

Depending on your clubs variations and special circumstances, you can adapt this to your club’s needs and available resources and should provide a successful path to creating the community you desire.

We will be hopefully going down this path in the next few years and will update this and provide more information as we come across it. We would also LOVE to hear from you if you have any insight or experience that may help us or any other club.

Best of luck, and Good Curling!