WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A new ice rink is planned for the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza under an ambitious timetable in order to be ready for the next hockey season.
The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority Wednesday awarded the ice floor replacement contract to low bidder Total Mechanical Services Inc. The St. Paul Park, Minnesota, company submitted a bid of $869,000. The only other bid of $940,000 was from Cimco of Ontario, Canada.
Bob Becker, of NEPA Engineering, consulting engineer for the authority, told board members at their monthly meeting that he was optimistic the more than $1 million project would be completed within the nine-week time frame. Work can’t begin until the end of current season for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey team.
“Through a bit of struggle and coordination, the plan is that we can start absolutely no earlier than June 5. If the hockey season extends out to June 19, we’ll be starting on June 20 and be completing with the concrete placement by Aug. 15,” Becker said.
The contractor will be using its own employees and hiring local union workers and contractors, he said.
The replacement of the original rink in the arena that opened in 1999 was one of several capital projects previously approved by the board that has yet to start. Still scheduled are upgrades of the structural steel in the roof at an estimated cost of $564,336 and acoustical panels at a cost of $333,080. The authority received a $100,000 grant for the acoustical panel project.
Ed Harry, who sits on the capital improvements and strategic planning committee, recommended that the board acknowledge fellow committee member Angelo Answini for his service. Answini did not seek a four-year reappointment to the board.
The board also acknowleged the service of attorney Jonathan Comitz and Dave Palermo, who also were not reappointed by Luzerne County Council.
Like Answini, Comitz did not seek reappointment but Palermo, approved by the board as chairman in December, did seek another term.
Council Tuesday night named John Ruckno, Gary Zingaretti and Michelle Reilly as replacements. None of them attended the board meeting.
Attorney Joseph Persico, authority solicitor, said the authority had not been officially notified by council of the appointments.
Palermo, who was unable to attend the board meeting due to a work scheduling conflict, was still chairman, according to Brian Shiner, of Kingston, who frequently attends council meetings. He said the county charter states new board members can’t join until six days after their appointments by council.
Harry, vice chairman, was named acting chairman. He agreed to serve in that capacity, as allowed by the board’s bylaws, until the March meeting when the board, including the new appointees, will vote on a new chair.
The arena had a banner year in terms of ticket sales, placing fourth among arenas of all sizes in Pennsylvania, said Brian Sipe, general manager for SMG, the company that manages the arena.
The trade publication Pollstar ranked The Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza 141st among the top 200 arena venues worldwide for ticket sales in 2016.
“It was our best year in four years, ” Sipe said.
The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia ranked 33rd, PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, 46th and Giant Center in Hershey, 96th, according to Pollstar.
The arena sold 102,612 tickets last year compared to a 157th ranking and 67,517 in ticket sales for 2015. In 2014, the arena ranked 127th with 98,956 tickets sold and 148th in 2013 with 81,360 tickets sold, according to Pollstar.