Editor's note: This article has been updated to relfect that the grand opening is for adults only.
West Gate is inviting residents to grab their skates and head to its opening adult skate night Wednesday at the remodeled skating rink, 1611 First Ave. W.
“I started remodeling in August 2012, two years ago. I started with tearing off the castle,” Gary Hussey, owner of West Gate said.
Hussey is currently in the process of buying the rink along with another rink in his native state of Ohio.
“It’s two of my dreams. I have always skated all of my life. My first (dream) was the military, I was in it 22 years and retired from that and this is my second dream,” Hussey said. During the two year remodel, Hussey made a number of changes to the interior as well as the exterior of the 60-year-old building.
Most noticeable is the removal of the castle from the exterior of the building and the new exterior on the front of the building. Hussey shortened the entryway to make a larger kitchen and also took out the office toward the front to make a larger party room. Both bathrooms were remodeled with new fixtures and updated styling. In the common area, new booths that were originally in the Newton Hy-Vee cafeteria replaced the benches. The benches found a new home along the west wall, near the skate cubbies.
The rink floor did not need a lot of maintenance, just a new finish, but an overhead beam had to be replaced as well as two others receiving metal bracing above where people skate, he said. Hussey replaced all of the windows around the rink and added two doors in the rear of the building. The D.J. corner was also expanded and re-carpeted.
In the front of the building, a larger second party room now has new doors to close off the room and there is also a new skate counter and skate storage area.
Hussey’s plan is to make the rink available for birthday parties, wedding receptions, conventions and other events. He also hopes to get the speed skating club that previously practiced there back up and running in the Newton location, instead of them having to travel to Des Moines to practice. Another possible addition would be a roller derby team playing at the rink or a junior roller derby team former to compete with the junior team from Des Moines.
Aside from the skating rink, Hussey has big plans for the rest of the property. If the weather cooperates this fall, he hopes to begin work on a race kart track behind the building. In the spring, he plans on building a miniature golf course as well as filling in a pond for future sand volleyball courts.
West Gate is open weekly on Monday from 6 to 9:30 p.m., which is half price night, Wednesday from 6 to 10 p.m. for an adult skate including those 18 and older, Friday from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday afternoon from 12 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 11 p.m. and Sunday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $6 with children four and under free. Private party times are available every day except Friday.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. for Wednesday’s grand opening and will feature 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s music.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Jamee A. Pierson at (641) 792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.