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Olympic Center Link Building to be redone

This concept art shows the updated Lake Placid Olympic Center Link Building — the section that connects the 1932 and 1980 Olympic rinks. Second-floor offices are being replaced with public dining facilities with a scenic lookout. (Provided image — Olympic Regional Development Authority)

LAKE PLACID — Visitors to the Olympic Center will soon have expanded access to scenic views of the High Peaks, the Olympic Speedskating Oval, ski jumps and the combined bobsled, skeleton and luge track at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

The state Olympic Regional Development Authority Board of Directors on Friday, April 23 approved a more than $32.9 million renovation of the Olympic Center Link Building — the section of the Main Street complex that connects the 1932 and 1980 Olympic rinks.

The board previously approved $22.8 million for renovations to the 1932 and 1980 rinks and $11.7 million for replacement of the refrigeration system at the Olympic Center. That totals at least $67.4 million committed to the complex so far, though the total estimate for the complex upgrades when they were first announced in 2019 was $100 million. At that time, ORDA was considering building a parking garage at the Olympic Center, but there currently aren’t any plans for that.

Before construction started on the Olympic Center, the second floor of the Link Building housed the ORDA administrative offices, plus a cafe with views of the Oval, High Peaks, ski jumps and sliding track. The first floor housed the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.

With the authority building a new office building on a former hospital site on Church Street, the offices in the Link Building will be converted. There will be an outdoor deck on the second floor that’s accessible to the public, expanded dining space, interpretive displays and an expanded space for the museum.

“This is going to make it a destination with premier visitor space,” ORDA CEO Michael Pratt said. “This is going to be a must-visit location.”

ORDA plans to hire LeChase Construction Services, Gilbane Building Company, Cannon Design Architectural and Engineering and the Chazen Companies to each do parts of the Link Building renovation, according to ORDA documents. LeChase Construction will be asked to renovate the lower, ground and concourse levels of the link building and construct any additions to it, plus construct staircases and a partial glass elevator, and work on the utilities. Gilbane will be asked to manage the project work and ensure the work is in compliance with ORDA’s requirements. Cannon will be asked to provide ORDA staff with information during construction, review change orders, contract documents, special inspections and more. Chazen Companies will be asked to make sure the project is done according to state building and fire codes, do inspections and assist with getting a certificate of occupancy.

All of the work on the Link Building is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2022, ahead of the 2023 Winter World University Games.

At the Olympic Center, the hockey locker rooms, concession stands and general concourse area of 1980 arena will be renovated. All public restrooms will be replaced, arena seats will be replaced, and ADA-compliant seating will be added. All heating, ventilation and air conditioning in the 1980 rink will be replaced.

Both the 1932 and 1980 rinks have been retrofitted with new boards that can be adjusted to either international or National Hockey League regulation width. Also, the 1980 rink’s lighting system was upgraded to the level now expected for television broadcasts.

The 1932 rink is expected to be finished by Nov. 1, the 1980 rink near Christmas, and the new refrigeration before the new year.

ORDA has been upgrading all of the venues it manages in recent years. In Lake Placid, at the Olympic Sports Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg, ORDA has added a new lodge, biathlon shooting range, Nordic ski race stadium, snowmaking, ski trails, bobsled practice house and a mountain coaster ride for tourists. The ski jumps have gotten on-slope refrigeration, a gondola and a zipline ride, and their landing hills are being regraded. The Whiteface Mountain Ski Center Base Lodge was overhauled, the Mid Station lodge was rebuilt after a fire and the gondola was replaced. New York’s governor and Legislature have so far invested hundreds of millions of dollars in these upgrades in advance of the 2023 Winter World University Games.