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Q&A About Our Design

The following is meant to be answers to the most popular questions that we get about how we built, what we like, what we wish we had done different, and other things.  Please review and let us know if you need information that we have not provided online.

Why did you post all that info on line –

We've had hundreds of inquiries, mostly from the States about what did we do, how did we do it. We had created a download link that we  would give people and after about 250 downloads, we decided to put it out on the web.  We try to maintain it with up-to-date information, such as P&L information, etc.

Why are you using End to End vinyl sheets instead of painting your ice?

 I'd like to tell you it was a "Green" effort, and it is much more environmentally sound to use, but the reality is that using these sheets was a self-serving, labor saving, volunteer effort-saving reason. It was a win/win, since we don’t have the environmental impact to wastewater.

What are you happy you did in the design?

  1. Elevated viewing area, close to the game.
    • We have our warm room about 5’ above the ice surface,
    • Directly behind the home houses.
    • Allows you to look out over the heads of the players to see the game.
  2. Ice pad for the scraper
    • We put in a refrigerated pad for our scraper, keeps the metal on the scraper blade at the same temperature as the pad
    • Bill Wood from IceKing recommended that we install it.
    • We didn't want it to be at the end of the loop, It is supplied by a separate loop off of our chiller
    • We are really happy we did that
  1. Our lights are not positioned over the center of the sheet –
    • We have all of our lights positioned at the outside of the sheets
      • Moving the lights to the outside of the sheet, we don't get any real glare in the house.
    • We have more lights from the hog line to the back line, than there is between hog lines
    • It is a bright ice to play on, bright in both of the houses, not as much between hog lines
    • they're LED and there's more lumens, relatively no heat.
    • If you look at the drawings we posted, it shows the foot-candles that are present at various locations
      • foot-candles 50-60ish in the middle of the sheet
      • 90 to 110 in the playing area
  1. We built our warm room way bigger than what we needed for normal play.
    • Our warm room is almost double the square footage of most warm rooms, especially if comparing to an older club.
    • Most clubs only allow enough space for broom stacking tables for normal league play, and not much beyond that
    • We wanted more space for when holding bonspiels and events
    • Example - bonspiels 32 teams, 128 people and we can comfortably hold almost all of them at one time
    • Many participants stick around, watch the curling, have a few drinks, spend more money, participate in the community more.
    • If you don’t build the warm room big enough, during a spiel, you can broomstack when you come off the sheet, but have to leave before the next draw is over, as there is no room for you to stay, when they broomstack.
  2. Dehumidification kept separate from your heat.
    • We purchased a “cold room” dehumidifier that does not pump tremendous heat into the building.
    • This allows us to control them separately.
    • See dehumidification and heat categories under “What do you wish you had done differently with the design?”
    • Our current design is not adequate and we are engaging a mechanical engineer to help us put together a good plan to fix this.
  3. Insulation
    • In general, we did a great job of insulating and air sealing the walls.
    • We installed spray foam on all four walls, with radiant barrier and batt insulation in the ceiling.
    • See Insulation and air sealing under “What do you wish you had done differently with the design?”
  4. Full Service Kitchen
    • We did not put in a full service kitchen, we don't have a restaurant.
    • Didn't want the complications of the safety and maintenance of a full kitchen.
    • If you've got the burners on with gas flames, you need to have the hoods and they need to be on when operating the gas burning appliance.
    • It is a whole different level of care you need to take if you put a full kitchen in.
      • Food Service inspection on an annual basis,
      • are you labelling everything, Keeping detailed records, training everyone, etc.
      • A lot to ask people to do.
      • Our club is 100% volunteer run. Asking that would be insurmountable.
    • We put in what the local building code understand what is a "Break" kitchen.
      • Microwave,
      • double oven,
      • warming trays,
      • work tables
      • 3bays sink
      • no open flame,
      • no real food production equipment there,
      • When we do a bonspiel, we gear the offering around what our equipment can produce.
      • Don't have the ongoing food service liability issue.
    • Full service restaurant inside the curling facility - we don't have the base or the cultural expectation for food service to be at the curling club, to support that.
    • If the group wants a restaurant, challenge them on will it pay for itself, including the investment, any staffing, and all costs that are driven by the offering:
      • Do a P&L on the restaurant - food cost, equipment, staffing, cleaning, etc.
      • Are you at least breaking even? What about if you cost out the space allotment, based on construction costs, would it stand on its own?
      • Most clubs are probably subsidizing the food operation from the curling revenues. It is fine to make that decision, but you need to make sure that this is a conscious decision, not an arbitrary one.
  1. The Board needs business owners on it.
    • You are running a small business, and need to make sure you are profitable.
    • You need to be saving money from the start, even if everything is new, because someday you will need to replace it all or major cost to rebuild parts of it.
    • In your club, are there people who are business owners on the board?
      • If not, you would be well advised to recruit some business owners to help.
  1. Chiller Location
    • We located our chiller outside, and very glad we did
    • Any oil leaks are not in the interior,
    • Noise and heat are kept outside.
  2. Large mechanical room –
    • We overbuilt this, or so we thought.
    • As time goes on, you need storage space.
    • See below under “What do you wish you had done differently with the design?” for what we wish we had done in addition to the current size.
  3. Ceiling Height
    • Many clubs don't have a high enough ceiling height.
    • Ours is between 18-23’ high.
    • Moisture won't be as much of an impact, as you have more air to absorb it.
    • Doesn't cost that much to go up another 5-7 feet,
    • feels so much better,

What do you wish you had done differently with the design?

  1. New vs. Used Chiller
    • We purchased a used chiller, and about 6 years in, we started to have major problems.
    • It was half the cost, but wound up being problematic.
    • We replaced it with a new chiller about 7.5 years after opening.
  2. Locker rooms large, and mens and womens space equal –
    • We wish we had made our locker rooms larger. 
    • We expected membership to be 2/3rds men, 1/3 women in the club, and sized the locker rooms accordingly.
    • it was really a question of logistics.
    • While it might reflect the general membership distribution, it can be misinterpreted as valuing female members less, or that they somehow are less important.
    • During a bonspiel, the ratios are more even, which is another argument for having them the same size.
  1. Heat? Who needs heat, we are in the south.
    • One of the things we did not do, but we wound up coming back and doing
    • We figured we were in the South and we figured what do we need heat for?
    • The reality is in Feb when it's 13°F outside, without heat, it is 13°F on the ice.
    • Keep your heat separate from your dehumidification.
    • We keep the ice at 45 degrees, at a 5’ height.
  2. Fresh Air Intake –
    • Code required us to install a fresh air intake system, but it was not conditioned air.
    • Even with the best fans, they leak like a sieve.
    • We had all kinds of humidity problems.
    • We wound up completely sealing these off.
    • We installed a C02 monitor alarm system to make sure we did not reach any concerning levels in the building, since it is sealed off from most air exchange.
    • See item #4 for recommendations on how to address.
  1. Dehumidification,
    • Ideally, especially in the south, it is better to keep the building positively pressurized with fresh air that is first either put through an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV), and is conditioned through the dehumidifier.
    • We did neither of these, and we will likely, once we can afford to, be implementing most/all of this.
    • You need an intake of fresh air, but in our area, any air we bring in would potentially be way too warm, 70-90%= RH.
    • 45 degree air @ 50% RH, is equivalent to 65 [email protected]%RH, or 85 degrees @ 13% RH.
    • If you don't have a positive pressure, Mother Nature will find a way in.
    • We are engaging a Mechanical Engineer to help us design a better solution, stay tuned.
  1. Insulation and air sealing
    • We had a lot of initial problems with air sealing.
    • Where the roof meets the wall, you have to make sure it is completely and absolutely airtight.
    • Even with us focused on it, we did not do a good enough job.
    • We retrofitted, and used spray foam to connect the wall to the air barrier on the ceiling.
    • I'm in construction, I specialize in passive house, certified by PHI and PHIUS as a builder. The vapor barrier is absolutely critical to make sure you've got it impermeable from the outside.
    • That take a diligence way beyond what I thought it originally would.
    • Getting that building tight is extremely important, more important that insulation.
  1. Thermal Breaks
    • the other thing that's really key that we didn't do a good job of is getting thermal breaks between items that will transfer, like metal.
    • Thermal breaks stop the transference through the materials or slow it down.
    • It is not just about the Rvalue of the insulation, but the R value of the wall/ceiling system
    • Some structurally significant thermal break materials that tend to be a dense ISO foam that's proven to have structural integrity that you can put on these steel members
    • without a thermal break it's just like electricity, the energy will flow through
    • It is easy to do during construction, costly to do after it is built, and the thermal breaks need to be incorporated in the design phase of the building.
    • Most affordable large buildings are pre-fab metal buildings, and it is relatively easy to put thermal breaks in.
  1. Lighting in the warm room
    • We were so focused on other things, we just let the architect spec out classroom lighting in the warm room.
    • The warm room is more of a bar than a classroom.
    • We wound up not replacing all of our light fixtures with dimmable LEDS.
    • Now we can adjust to reflect the mood.
    • Lighting kelvin should be around 2700K it's incandescent. 3500K max.
    • Pay attention to the color spectrum of the lighting. 5000K is very blue, and many times the default that will be provided, unless you direct otherwise.
    • You want something closer to incandescent lighting, warm glow and soft feel
  1. More Storage –
    • We overbuilt our mechanical room, which we planned on using for storage, or so we thought.
    • As time goes on, you need storage space way beyond what you think.
    • We wound up building a second floor above the mechanical room, and now that is nearing full.
  1. Noise Control
    • Build a high ceiling, but at the same time you need to minimize the echo.
    • We did not drape any kind of sound panels.
    • A club that's been around a long time have flags hanging, banners, those help, but needs to be designed from the start.
    • Needs to be thought through and not an after thought.
  1. Advertising space
    • Needs to be designed in in from start 
    • we had to create it on the fly
    • We have steel cables strung up, banners clipped up, pVC on top and bottom to hold them out,
    • but it was a lot of work doing that afterwards, vs. do it when you are building.

Dual purpose Facility?   We'd love to be able to capture a revenue opportunity for our club.  We wish that we had other revenue sources, but we don’t. We go September through May. Substantially longer than most curling clubs, which limits this dual use, but does not preclude it.

The curling club, in some ways, is a perfect venue, it's unencumbered open free warehouse space. If we can convert over to being a fairly nice venue for a trade show, bar mitzfa, weddings and other things.  We have a full 160x150 concrete pad, we run our slab year round always a balmy 65°F all year round, can definitely be done but it needs to be purposefully designed that way.  We could adapt but we would need a bit of retrofitting to do. Haven't found the right formula. Will eventually find an event planner.  Examples of things we would need to do are:

  • draping panels to hide the walls and for $10-15K
  • Designed in both from a power perspective, need more power for lights, DJs, as well
  • When you take the ice out, typically the sideboards are a trip hazard, so need a way to make them removable for no trip hazard or isolate them.

Unless you have other indoor sport that would be hard on the facility. Spray foam on the walls 12,000 square foot area, any indoor soccer would need to string nets up, or pickle ball.  Look at the financial viability, is it worth the investment. To build up protection that is very durable, you could spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars doing that. Are you going to get the return on the investment? Something that's gentle on the facility like wedding is more palatable, being able to disguise the walls, etc.

Parking - Most clubs have enough parking for the day to day members, but not enough for when they hold events. Need to have the ability to park most of the people who attend a bonspiel. Like a shopping mall, most of the time they're not using all the 

Signage - Use your building for signage, lit up really, really well. Many clubs, you wouldn't know they're a curling club unless you're looking for it. We don’t think of needing to market or promote the curling club, but you do need to maximize this aspect. 

 

Other Lighting Input

In most areas, we put in motion light detectors. The washrooms, locker rooms, mechanical room are on motion. Ice are lights are on a timer, don't stay on all night. Warm room we wouldn't recommend that, there are times you want the lights to be off even though people are in the room. Control the lights with motion activated lights in any area where you want them on when someone goes in for a short while and then goes out. 

Credits – We were interviewed by Colleen O’Shea, Publisher of Re-Surfacing.com.  She is attempting to help curling clubs and especially clubs in her area, and wanted to learn from our dedicated ice journey. She was gracious enough to send me her notes, which we then reformatted into the above Q&A format above.  Many thanks to Colleen for helping us help others.

Good Curling,

Steve McKee

980-721-9987 cell

President 2013-2022

Charlotte Curling Association

6525 Old Statesville Road

Charlotte NC 28269


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The Charlotte Curling Association is located at:

6525 Old Statesville Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28269

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5009 Beatties Ford Road
Ste 107-242
Charlotte,‎ NC‎ 28216

Please note the best means to contact us is through email as our facility is run by Charlotte Curling Association member volunteers. We strive to respond within 24 hours.

Email (general information): [email protected]

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The Charlotte Curling Association is a not-for-profit organization based in the greater Charlotte, NC area. We are committed to bringing the sport of curling to those interested in learning more about this great sport – the physical, strategic, and social aspects! Our members range in experience from 50+ years playing to those who have only seen it on TV. Click here to learn a little more about our club and the curling opportunities we’re bringing to Charlotte.