Millar Civic Center ready for ice skating activities after delayed opening

HOULTON, Maine — After postponing its opening for a week following a positive case of COVID-19 found at Houlton High School, the John Millar Civic Center is now ready to start its skating programs for this year. 

The Civic Center is offering all new programs this year designed to accommodate social distancing. Pre-registration for all programs will be required, in order for the center to be able to manage how many people are in each program and ensure the number of people in the building at one time remains low.

“Obviously, we’re kind of keeping an eye on the situation [at the school],” said Haley Nickerson, the supervisor for the Civic Center. “If the school were to close back down, or guidelines were to change in such a way that would make running our programs not responsible, then we would back off again if we needed to.” 

The programs include an after-school skating program, with sessions divided up by grades. Grades two and three will meet Mondays, grades four and five on Tuesdays, and grades six to eight on Wednesdays. Those sessions all run from 2 to 4 p.m. on each day. 

Following those lessons, there will be beginner lessons for kids who do not yet know how to skate, which run from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. High school lessons will run on Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m., and adult lessons run on Tuesday at the same time. 

For now, it remains unknown when hockey will begin, as it is delayed due to social distancing concerns. Nickerson said the high school skating lessons may be used for training and conditioning of hockey players, and that other usual programs may also be offered if hockey resumes. 

“We’re kind of waiting to hear when that [hockey] will start back up,” said Nickerson. “And hopefully when hockey does start back up, we’ll be able to offer some of our more normal programs, like public skating and stick time.”

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