Hockey academy with cargo container dormitories for Colosseum takes first step
LEWISTON – The Planning Council unanimously approved the concept of a hockey academy / school at the Colosseum on Monday evening.
The first question was about the zoning adjustment. That was answered, Colosseum owner Darryl Antonacci said he would be back soon with a proposal and details on introducing modified cargo containers for player dormitories as early as this summer.
“There are boys from all over the country who live in Lewiston and they train (already at the Coliseum) every day,” Antonacci told the board. “They went to local schools or online. What we are trying to do is for their safety and the cohesion of the organization, is to bring them there. “
Antonacci owns the Maine Nordiques junior hockey team and purchased the Colosseum last year.
In his candidacy for the board, he said the Colosseum already offers more than 70 students “two top hockey schools and development programs.”
The city, however, has classified the facilities at 190 Birch Street as an entertainment rink, not a school.
“That’s part of the reason we’re here,” said David Hediger, Lewiston’s director of planning and code enforcement. “We wondered if this was a place of fun and indoor gathering or some type of academic use… We know this is something that (Antonacci) was working on, to pass. from the traditional use with which Lewiston is familiar. for The Colosseum and its plans for it. I don’t know if that’s a problem, other than if it has continued in that direction without making the request that the board is considering tonight, then there may be concerns.
The council agreed that a hockey school / academy fit into the area’s institutional office zoning, paving the way for dormitories.
Atonacci said there were no plans to bring teachers to the scene.
“It’s not for math, English and everything, it’s for teaching hockey. That’s all, ”he said. “At some point parents might want to ask a tutor to come and help their child or do SAT stuff, it’s possible. There is room for it. Our main focus is training at the hockey academy, not to supplement their traditional education locally or online as is currently the case. “
He offered to house players in eight modified cargo containers in the upper parking lot, share two cargo container bathrooms, and potentially build an outdoor ice rink between the containers on the road.
“We have the boys scattered around town with accommodations and personal accommodations and things like that,” Antonacci said. After school online or in person, “they literally practice hockey for about five or six hours a day. In the evening, they have dinner, then they are brought back to their living quarters. What we’re trying to do is put everything on one site. “
Even as a hockey school / academy with dormitories, the Colosseum would continue to host high school graduation ceremonies and hockey championships, he said, “all those things that help us stay. in touch with the community… It’s just that we’re looking for an extension of use here to allow us to get these dorms up and running, hopefully by the end of August here as we’re on a schedule tight. “
Shanna Cox, a board member, said she appreciates the site remaining a shared community space while “reflecting creatively on the use of the site and recognizing its history and all that its future potential may have.” to be”.
The next step is to get back to the board for a development review.
City planner Doug Greene told council members at the start of the meeting not to get caught up in questions about the modified cargo containers, yet.
“They are already studying how to design these housing units to be comfortable, livable and safe,” he said. “They work with the state fire marshal. All of these things will be dealt with in the next step. “
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