Cost to build an ice rink for permanent use

ice rink cost

Building a permanent-use ice rink can seem daunting, but it can be done affordably. But with the right information and planning, the entire process can be broken down into manageable steps. Knowing what impacts the cost of an ice rink is the first step in creating a realistic budget.

Creating a safe skating space for athletes, students, and enthusiasts is exciting. A new permanent-use ice rink can help you build community, advance your sport or program, and facilitate new activities. However, the initial investment can be significant – so you need to know you’ve covered all the bases in terms of cost.

To begin establishing the total price for your rink, you’ll need to ask and answer three basic questions:

  • Who is the ice rink for? 
  • What is the use case? 
  • Will you need real ice, or can you use synthetic ice instead?

Once you’ve established these fundamental concepts, you can confidently begin the planning, sourcing, and budgeting process.

Use our ice rink cost cost calculator to get a customized cost estimate for your project.

How much does an ice rink cost to build?

The total cost of building an ice rink depends on several factors and the price range can be quite broad. Here are some general guidelines for you to begin planning your project.

  • Cost of an ice rink with real ice: $150,000 – $950,000
  • Cost of a synthetic ice rink: $14,000 – $395,000

The cost depends largely on the size of the ice rink and the quality of the materials used.

While these prices cover most ice rink construction projects, you’ll want to work with a trusted expert for the most accurate estimate. A company with experience in the ice rink industry can help you understand all the factors that will affect the cost of your project.

Ice skating rink construction cost Real ice surface Synthetic ice surface
Ice rink including board system
$90,000 - $550,000
$11,000 – $360,000
Transport and construction of the ice rink
$4,500 - $14,700
$1,560 – $11,450
Operating costs for water and electricity
$2,500 - $7,500
-
Ice rink refrigeration machine
$3,000 - $60,000
-
Rink cleaning/maintenance machine
$10,000 - $250,000
$702-$1170
TOTAL COST
$150,000 - $950,000
$14,000 – $395,000
cost to build an ice rink

What influences the cost of building an ice or synthetic ice rink?

Use concept

The most fundamental question you need to answer is what events you will be hosting at your new rink.

While you may think you only need to host a certain type of sport or level of play, it’s best to plan for the long term. Ensuring you’ll have enough space and amenities to accommodate any type of event or team is key when considering the size and cost of your rink. 

If you are planning to build an ice rink for competitive use, the only viable option is to use real ice instead of synthetic ice, due to regulations and requirements set by the governing bodies. 

Rink Size

Size is the most obvious factor in determining your rink’s cost. A larger area requires more materials, labor, and time to build – so it will come with a higher price tag.

The exact dimensions will vary depending on the level of competition and the types of sports you are hosting. Here are some guidelines:

  • Ice hockey rink: 85 ft x 200 ft (17,000 square feet)
  • Olympic figure skating rink: 98 ft x 200 ft (19,600 square feet)
  • Rink for public skating: sizes vary depending on the use case and how much space is available, but the dimensions can vary anywhere from 30 ft – 85 ft (W) x 40 ft – 200 ft (L) or 1,200 – 17,000 square feet.
  • Curling rink: approx. 15 ft x 150 ft (2,250 square feet)
  • Speed skating rink: a short 200-meter track can be fitted into an Olympic skating rink

Choice and quality of ice rink skating material

What type of material do you need? If installing a real ice rink, you’ll need to take into consideration the cost of refrigeration and maintenance of the ice surface which requires quite a lot of electricity and water. There are also requirements for ice thickness depending on the sport. The thicker the ice needs to be the more it will end up costing.

Synthetic ice, on the other hand, is much cheaper, but it obviously is not the ideal solution if you are building an ice rink for competitive purposes.

Geographic location

Believe it or not, where you are building your rink affects cost. Natural elements like soil type, climate, and the average temperature will influence the price of materials, labor, and maintenance.

Types of Competition

Ice rinks are used for various sports, from hockey to curling. Depending on the competition you plan to host, you may have different requirements for size and materials. For instance, the need for figure skating may differ from a collegiate-level hockey team. For competitive use, the only viable option is to install a real ice surface. 

ice rink maintenance cost

Competition level

In addition to the types of events, you need to consider the level of play. Youth hockey and professional-level hockey will differ in size, amenities, and lighting.

There are three levels of play: recreational, student, and professional. Each level has different standards for materials, amenities, and ice thickness that will affect the total cost of your rink. 

Maintenance & Operating Costs

You must invest in a routine maintenance and repair budget to keep your rink in optimal condition. You’ll need a resurfacer and other tools to keep your rink safe and well-maintained.

Additionally, ice rinks consume a lot of energy due to the need for continuous refrigeration and cooling. Your budget should include the cost of powering and maintaining the ice rink.

Customization

This is one of the most fun parts of creating a new rink for your facility. Customization can include logos on the center ice and boards or themed artwork around the rink. But it also includes the line markings for the different sports you plan to host.

Amenities

You can also add amenities like snack bars, locker rooms, and seating areas to create a more enjoyable customer experience.

Lighting is another major expense that is often overlooked. Lighting systems can vary in price depending on the type, quality, and quantity of fixtures you install. However, if you choose a modern LED system, you can usually recoup your initial investment in energy savings.

Scoreboards, audio-visual components, and other related items can also add to the cost of your rink. While you might be able to get away with a simple board for lower-level play, you’ll need to consider everything.

Extras

Planning a recreational facility? Skates for rent are a must-have for your patrons. Similarly, rubber walking mats are a great idea to keep everyone safe on and off the ice.

Equipment

Unlike basketball courts, there are a few pieces of equipment you need to keep your rink in working condition. An ice resurfacing machine a.k.a “Zamboni” is an essential piece of equipment at any ice rink. They don’t come cheap though. Small or used ones may cost somewhere around $10,000, whereas full-sized models may cost up to $250,000. Another necessary machine is the ice chiller or the refrigeration system which are also expensive. You can expect these machines to cost from $3,000 to $60,000 depending on the size of your rink. 

You’ll need to consider whether it’s better for you to buy or rent some of the equipment. Also, take into consideration your team’s ability to maintain your facility, or whether you need to hire an outside firm to manage and maintain the ice rink.

How to finance the construction of an ice rink?

As you can see, there’s a lot you need to consider when planning an ice rink. With the high cost of materials and labor, you’ll need to figure out how to finance your project.

One option is to apply for government grants that may cover some or all of your costs. You must research these grants and determine whether you qualify for them.

Another option is to seek private investors to finance the project in exchange for a percentage of the profits. This can be a great way to get your ice rink up and running without using too many of your own resources.

Finally, you can look into loan options like bank loans or crowdfunding campaigns to raise the necessary capital.

Read more in our sports facility grants section.

ice rink grants and funding

Consider installing LED lighting for your ice rink

As stated above, lighting is essential to any ice rink. And while traditional lighting fixtures can get the job done, they are not energy efficient.

Installing LED lights in your ice rink is a great way to save on electricity costs and reduce your carbon footprint. LEDs also provide better visibility for players, making it easier and safer to keep track of the puck and other skaters.

Get a cost estimate early - compare prices and save costs!

Ready to get started with your permanent-use ice rink construction project? Get expert input early in the process to ensure you are budgeting correctly. Having an expert provide a cost estimate can help you compare prices and save on costs.

You can use our online ice rink cost calculator to receive an instant estimate for your new rink. We’ll put you in touch with top professionals in your area to help move things forward.