Oaks Center Ice breaks ground on third rink

Oaks Center Ice Manager John Geverd, left, thanks everyone for attending the ground breaking as Skating Director Karyn Canning, Manager Brian Reagan, Program Director Wally Muhlbronner, owner Jake Geverd and Upper Providence Township Supervisor Lisa Mossie look on. Andy Hachadorian/Journal Register News Service.

UPPER PROVIDENCE — After two years of planning and patience, Oaks Center Ice’s goal for a third rink is no longer on ice.

At a groundbreaking for an addition to the Brower Road facility on Thursday evening, manager John Geverd took note of the often seemingly uphill process.

“It’s a really exciting time for us. Our programs are really expanding,” he said. “It was about two years ago when we said ‘We have enough business let’s explore doing a third surface.’ Now we’re finally about to break ground. It’s been a lot of hard work from many people involved in our hockey office, our figure skating program, as well as our Introduction to Hockey programs. It’s been a stressful time but also a rewarding time for my father, Jake Geverd, the owner, who has put in countless hours on the phone and many sleepless nights. Now we’re getting to the point where we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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That light should be in full illumination mode sometime in November when construction is completed, Geverd allowed.

“It’s been one hurdle after another and it’s taken a while,” John Geverd later noted privately.

“There have been so many obstacles, like helping the neighbors address their concerns with the traffic, figuring out solutions to that. I know some people don’t want Oaks to develop that much and we’re kind of trying to make it so there’s less traffic. It’s hard to explain how with expanding there will be less traffic.”

A change in the entrance to Center Ice will divert traffic toward BJ’s Wholesale Club and away from residences, he pointed out, with drivers exiting on Pennco Road and winding around to Station Avenue, avoiding the residences on Brower Road altogether.

It was back in 2010, facility owner C.D. Professional Sports, LP had iced a deal with Betzwood Associates PC and its design partners, N.E. Fisher & Associates and Engineering One PC, to lend its architectural and structural ingenuity to the design of a 25,000 square foot-addition to an existing pair of NHL-caliber ice skating rinks, which are regularly used for public skating, and youth and adult hockey leagues.

N.E. Fisher & Associates of Boyertown was chosen as the project mechanical engineer, with Engineering One PC of Phoenixville serving as project electrical engineer.

Besides the NHL-size rink, new player and referee locker rooms, a “warm-up room”, and mechanical space for the rink’s ice-making equipment are also on tap.

InLand Design, LLC of Exton provided the civil and land development design engineering for the project, which will include improved access and parking.

Schlosser Steel Buildings, Inc. of Hatfield will provide a Star Building Systems “pre-engineered” building to seamlessly match the exterior of the existing facility. The “cold slab,” ice making and rink equipment comes courtesy of B.K. Mechanicals, Inc. of West Chester.

“We have a facility that people seem to enjoy and we didn’t have enough space so we’re expanding it,” Jake Geverd said. “The little kids are getting out and being active, which I believe is a positive thing. And the older men, 20s to 60s, are playing ice hockey ... so it seems to be a good thing for everybody.”

Thursday marked the seventh groundbreaking for Dylan Strang, owner of Dylan Enterprises, but it was his first for an ice rink.

“I’ve built everything else — prisons, sewer plants, houses,” he said following the groundbreaking. “I was doing a lot of work for Jake, maintenance-wise, repairing and building whatever he needs and when it came up about the ice I said I’d be happy to GC (general contractor) it.”

With most of his work in the last 30-plus years being in the Boyertown-Reading-Allentown area, Strang recalled that one of his first professional jobs was the construction of an office building in Norristown in 1979.

“Don’t remember where it is or if it’s still there,” he said, grinning.

Follow Gary Puleo on Twitter @ Mustangman48.