The new Iron Trail Motors Event Center sets a groundbreaking model for traditionally separated public event centers and sports facilities. The planning process broke down old silos of use and ownership through a true collaboration with the City of Virginia, Park Board and School District planning.
The community overwhelmingly came out to show their support for the city-run referendum, state bonding funding and IRRRB funding. Thanks to these conversations and support, the finished project shows how a relatively small community can build top-level sports facilities for youth, year-round wellness opportunities for adults, and state of the art venues for trade shows and entertainment.
Following B3 Guidelines Version 3.1, the facility achieves renewable energy targets through geothermal heat pumps and a SolarWall® passive hot air collector. A reduction in life cycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) was achieved through layout optimization, an efficient precast concrete building envelope, and re-purposed existing ice-plant equipment. Waste heat from the building is used to keep exterior sidewalks free from ice in the winter.
Community fitness and wellness was prioritized throughout the facility. Encircling the main ice rink is a 2-lane walking track with a high-performance athletic surface and strategically places windows that bring in daylight and views along the entire path. There are three dedicated fitness rooms, that through a partnership with the Mesabi YMCA, offer classes and training for the community. The facility has an abundance of windows so natural light can spill into spaces and provide views to the landscaped grounds and surrounding neighborhood.
The 6,400 square foot event space with flexible seating for 300, can be used for a multitude of events such as weddings, reunions, corporate meetings, and other social gatherings. Adjacent to the event space is an inviting cozy nook that has been dubbed “Virginia’s Living Room”.
The main draw to the Iron Trail Motors Event Center is the two NHL regulation sized ice arenas. The main arena features state-of-the-art Collegiate level lighting and audio, that not only is used for sporting events, but also provides spectacular sound and visuals for performances. Able to accommodate 2,500 spectators, the top-loaded bleacher seating encourages fans to use the stairs and also preserves sightlines to the ice sheet.
The second ice sheet is used as a practice rink, for figure skating and is one of only 27 places worldwide that offer ice bumper cars! Ice is present in this arena year-round, so that otherwise “winter activities” can be enjoyed even during the summer months.
The Iron Trail Motors Event Center has far exceeded expectations. The facility is not only a mainstay event center for the surrounding area but has become an iconic destination for visitors to the region. The sense of pride that this building has brought to the people of Virginia coupled with the positive economic impact, has defined what it means to partner with a community to create personalized architecture.