Some recent questions we have had at THE PLEX


Orange County Sportsplex FAQ

There has been considerable construction activity at the Sportsplex over the past six months. What is the status of all the projects?

It has indeed been a busy time. Sportsplex management and staff appreciate the patience of our members and patrons. The following is a list of projects completed or in progress:

Main group exercise room doubled in size and retractable partitions added to facilitate up to 5 programmable sub rooms

Second fitness studio added

UNC Physio Therapy and Massage Therapy space added

New cardio and strength equipment added

Nursery upgraded

New, more efficient member services front desk

Upgraded flooring in entry, main lobby, bathrooms and main halls

New lobby tables and chairs

Women/girls hockey locker room added

Renovated men and ladies bathrooms (to be completed April 30)

Hockey lockers painted and player benches repaired (to be completed

April 10)


Q: The ice rink is temporarily closed. Is that a routine summer closing?

A: We are undergoing a major repair of the ice rink concrete pad. To elaborate, in late summer 2014 a leak was detected in the warm floor under the ice rink. The warm floor is fundamental to ice rink design to prevent permafrost under the rink. Detection was challenging but eventually traced to piping running under the elevator shaft. The location made replacement along the existing piping grid impractical requiring re-routing. The timetable from detection, reengineered design, and approvals took several months and this allowed permafrost to set in. This caused upward heaving pressure on the ice rink concrete slab which encapsulates the refrigeration piping.

Closing the rink for repair in September would have disrupted all hockey and skating programming in the midst of their seasons. The decision was made to painstakingly nurse the rink through a full operational schedule until the end of the season in late March. While intricate, time and resource intensive, we are relieved to have successfully sustained the peak seasonal and program cycle in the ice calendar.

The rink is now closed and heat is being pumped under the concrete slab to melt the permafrost under the concrete pad. Surface heat is also being applied. Once the virtual iceberg under the slab is melted, the concrete floor will settle back to its former flat state.


Q: Will this solve the problem and will the Sportsplex re-open in mid-April as planned?

A: We are confident the repair process will be a successful. We successfully executed a similar procedure at the Plex in 2009 when all the main headers at the Sportsplex were replaced and there was a worse pattern of heaving of the concrete slab. The slab fully settled back to baseline at that time. Today we have added a “superheat” feature, which should greatly expedite the current repair process.

We also have the best resources in the industry overseeing the project, including Recreation Factory Partners (RFP) which is part of the same group that owned and/or built most of the rinks in North Carolina including Wake Forest, Cary, Garner, Wilmington, Greensboro, and Charlotte. Second opinions, confirming the prognosis and repair methodology have come from Pace Industrial (Gateway Mechanical) who have a long partnering relationship with RFP and built over 300 rinks in the North America (including the Ice Plex in Raleigh and Xtreme Ice in Charlotte) plus Ultimate Fabrication, whose principles founded Commercial Refrigeration (acquired by Pace), and who have unique competence in the most challenging ice rink repairs.

The surface ice has been melted and paint and lines removed; the subfloor superheat is running 24/7; surface heat is being applied……the slab is gradually settling as expected.  Nothing has been encountered that was not as expected. Every indication is that ice the rink will re-open with a perfect sheet of ice in mid-April.


Q: Is any further expansion planned?

A: As the Sportsplex nears it 20 year anniversary, the last 10 of those under the ownership of Orange County and management by RFP, we are in the midst of very exciting growth for the Sportsplex! Final selection of the architect and designers to expand the Wellness Center is imminent. This approximately 7,500 sq. ft. addition will feature dedicated member locker rooms; men’s and women’s saunas; expanded family change area; Yoga/Pilates studio; dedicated spin room; senior cardio/core center; expanded general cardio and strength areas.

Construction is expected to start this Summer with a Fall completion. This will be segregated mezzanine space and hence the disruption to Sportsplex building flow will not be near as extensive as the recent lobby and group studio expansion.

Additionally, the longer term Capital Improvement Plan for the Sportsplex contemplates the erection of a “field house” for indoor turf; walking/running track; hard courts; a full service children’s center for day care, expanded preschool and after school care (including outdoor playground and amenities); expanded physio and therapeutic spa services.  Similar to recent collaborations with UNC on physio therapy and swim clinics, we hope to expand this relationship to include indoor clinics such as for soccer, lacrosse, and wrestling in addition to the RFP proprietary array of children’s “learn to” programs for turf and court based activities plus evening adult leagues and play.

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