How to make an ice skating rink

January 14, 2014 

Terry Fahey talks about how they make the ice for skating at the Macon Centreplex.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP — gblankenship@macon.com

— Before the first blades sluice across the ice at the Macon Centreplex, workers there have to freeze the floor in a process that is both science and art.

Terry Fahey, event manager for the Macon Centreplex and the Macon Marriott City Center, has been making ice since coming to the Centreplex in 1997. Back then, the ice was for the Macon Whoopee hockey team and then later for the Macon Trax. These days, the ice is for the public skate sessions.

Tuesday morning, Fahey and coworker James Hutchings worked together to hose down the chilled surface of the floor. According to Fahey, refrigerated lines in the Centreplex floor cool it to a temperature of about 17 degrees. When water from a hose hits the floor, it flash freezes. That's the science.

Layer after layer of water is sprayed on the chilled floor over the course of a few days. Go too fast and spray too much and the floor will heat up and no ice is made. Or it will be made badly. That's the art.

Fahey said that he would like to add a 2014 summer skating session based on the success of 2013 summer skate. People seemed to enjoy the cold in the dog days of summer.

Though he enjoys making ice and providing fun for people as far from Macon as Atlanta or far southwest Georgia, Fahey says the stuff isn't for him. "I'll work on it, I'll build it, but I do not skate," he said,"I have too far to fall."

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