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Bozeman figure skaters, hockey players and amateur ice enthusiasts will be able to enjoy an indoor ice rink for the first time next summer.

The Gallatin Ice Foundation is working on a renovation project to the Ressler Motors Ice Rink located at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds that will enable the facility to open during the warm summer months.

Normally, the rink is open from October through April. Jeffrey Moore, the philanthropy director for the Gallatin Ice Foundation, said the new operating schedule will be from June 12 to April 12, with a few weeks’ closure in the spring for routine repairs.

The rink will open for this season on Tuesday, Sept. 7, and will open in June 2022 for its first summer operations.

It will now be the only ice rink open during the summer months in the southwest Montana region, joining just a few others around the state that stay open through the year, Moore said.

The expanded summer operations will allow the rink to host more youth programming, Moore said.

“If you’re in Minnesota, the ice rinks are open year-round, so they do summer rinks and preseason camps, shoulder season, summer camps, and we’re not able to do that,” Moore said. “This has just changed the game for us completely.”

A $1.5 million fundraising campaign started in January, and work began in April, Moore said.

The nonprofit has already raised money for and completed work on insulating the building, replacing the roof and installing an HVAC and new duct system, Moore said.

It’s just $170,000 short of the goal, money it hopes to raise to install a dehumidification system to the building. The foundation is going to continue fundraising for the remaining money through the end of the year, Moore said.

A dehumidification is essential because of the amount of moisture that builds up in an ice rink facility, and because the nonprofit plans to put in enough capacity for 1,800 people — who themselves will create a lot of moisture, Moore said.

Those changes will allow rink operators to control the temperature in the facility, Moore said, meaning if its -10 degrees outside in January, it won’t be -10 inside the rink.

The expanded summer operations will not impact the summer farmer’s market that uses the neighboring Haynes Pavilion, Moore said.

Gallatin Ice Foundation will soon start building the ice rink in the pavilion, Moore said, and is hosting a grand opening of the facility on Sept. 18.

Groups that make use of the rink are excited about the expanded operations, Moore said, since it means competitive hockey players or skaters won’t have to travel to practice during the summer.

“If you’re a hockey player, let’s say a U-14 player and have to advance you have to go to summer camps in Boston or Minnesota or San Diego instead now we’ll be doing all that right here in Bozeman,” Moore said. “I think it’s going to be explosive because we’re such a destination.”

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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