SAUK RAPIDS -- If you've toured the Benton County Fairgrounds this week, you may have noticed something different about the Sports Arena East building.

The 35-year-old facility recently went through a major renovation. Facilities Manager Mike Kemp says work wrapped up just weeks before the fair.

We added on to one side of the building and put all new bathrooms in, we remodeled the whole lobby and concession stand and the response has been excellent.

The cost for the renovations was roughly $700,000 which was funded through half-cent sale tax dollars, the Benton County Fair Board and the arena itself.

Kemp says with how much the arena is used, the upgrades were needed.

We have a big car show here, a circus, craft shows, graduation parties, concerts and all sorts of events. So this facility gets used for more than just hockey.

Sports Arena East is home to the Granite City Lumberjacks and Sauk Rapids high school and youth hockey.

Kemp says in about two weeks they will begin making the ice to prepare for the upcoming hockey season.

 

(Photo: Jim Maurice, WJON)