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Warming houses coming to Maplewood, Rendezvous Parks

The architect’s rendering, provided by JLG Architects, of what the Parks District’s new warming houses will look like when they open on Dec. 1. Submitted photo1 / 2
The current state of Maplewood Park's warming house. Daniel Determan2 / 2

West Fargo ice skaters won’t necessarily have to lace up in their cars this winter. The West Fargo Parks District, in conjunction with JLG Architects of Fargo, is currently building warming houses next to the skating rinks at Maplewood and Park for skaters and sledders. The two buildings are set to open on Sunday, Dec. 1.

“Both skating rinks get a lot of use,” Park District executive director Barb Erbstoesser said. “With the winters we tend to have, it will be nice to have a place to go in and warm up and whatnot.”

The total cost of the project, coming from the Park District’s budget, is $690,788, or $345,394 per building. The two buildings have a similar floor plan and will be roughly 900 square feet. The Maplewood warming house appears to be near completion, while the building at Rendezvous Park has yet to be framed.

“It’s amazing how fast (builders) can frame a building,” Erbstoesser said. “Once they get out there and working, it will be up in no time.”

The building won’t only be used in winter, as both will be air-conditioned and will be used as activity centers, with the district’s recreation staff currently looking into what activities can be offered for a variety of West Fargo residents of all ages.

The Park District accepted bids on the project in mid-August, but it has been on the minds of park employees for several months.

“We have had this on our wish list for a while,” Erbstoesser said. “Rendezvous Park has only been around since about 2003, but it is amazing how that area has grown around it, and that park is always busy. It will be a great asset down there.”

According to Erbstoesser, feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People have been very enthusiastic about it,” Erbstoesser said. “As a parent, I take my daughter sledding at the Maplewood site and I hear people say ‘oh, it would be nice to have a warming house here.’ It will be great for parents to warm up and congregate. I have heard nothing but great feedback. It is going to generate the need for more. I think everyone is going to want one in their neighborhood.”

Along with the warming houses, the district will take fill soil from the two buildings, along with the fill soil from the renovated Veteran’s Memorial Pool, to make a sledding hill at Rendezvous Park, but Erbstoesser was not confident that it would be ready this winter.

“We are just really excited to be moving forward with this project,” Erbstoesser said. “It is going to be a great addition to the parks, and we are looking forward to offer other programs and events, and expand on what we already do.”