OGDEN -- The Weber County ice sheet has a new administrator, and it will soon have a new $275,000 concrete floor that will make the sheet an Olympic-caliber curling venue.
Management of The Ice Sheet has been turned over to Cathleen Dressler, the county's new community services director, who reported for work April 12.A departmental reorganization by county officials expanded Dressler's role to include administration of The Ice Sheet, the Golden Spike Events Center at the county fairgrounds and all county parks and recreation operations.
That reorganization also eliminated the position of former ice sheet manager, Jim Schreiber, who was dismissed from his administrative duties last December.
Dressler said her initial focus is on The Ice Sheet, which was closed May 2 at the conclusion of a curling tournament so construction could begin on the new floor.
The Ice Sheet will host the Olympic curling competition during the 2002 Winter Games.
Curling, a centuries-old Scottish sport that vaguely resembles shuffleboard on ice using 42-pound rocks, is the newest Olympic event and is becoming increasingly popular among American winter sports enthusiasts.
The floor upgrade, which is being funded by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and the Seiko Corp., should be finished and ready for use by July 9.
Meantime, she said, curlers are taking a two-month vacation while figure skaters and hockey players are relocating to other ice rinks until the new floor is ready.
Dressler said the original floor was a sand surface that is fine for ice skating and hockey events but not curling.
"The SLOC believes that having a concrete floor will give us better ice," she said. "Over and over, curlers have told us concrete floors are better."
The new floor will be tested by some of America's finest curlers in March of 2000 during the National Curling Championships and again in 2001 during World Junior Curling Championships.
Dressler said the problem with sand floors is that the freezing pipes under the floor tend to shift, causing uneven ridges in the ice.
"You don't notice that in hockey or skating, but really you notice it in curling," she said. "In curling, without a flat surface, your rock goes everywhere."
The new floor also "gives us more flexibility for changing the ice for different sports," Dressler said. "We'll also be able to use the concrete floor for non-ice events.
"I don't know what the events will be," she added, "but the flexibility will be there."
Dressler replaced former community services director Ken Miller, who retired in January. Before coming to the county, she was the Olympics planning manager for Ogden.
A graduate of San Jose State University with a degree in recreation administration, Dressler has more than 20 years in event and facility management and in directing parks and recreation programs.
She previously worked as the community services director for the city of Milpitas in northern California.
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