SARTELL -- After years of planning the Sartell Youth Rec Center has finally broken ground on a new sports arena.

SYRC, owners and operators of Bernick's Arena, held a ground breaking ceremony Wednesday on the new Regional Diagnostic Radiologists (RDR) arena, which will sit next to the current ice arena.

SYRC President Brian Zimny says the facility will be open year-round, with four-months of ice and eight-months of turf rental each year.

The first surface that will go in RDR arena will be turf. So sports like football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse will all be using the arena before we actually put ice in it.

The cost of the new arena is roughly $6-million and is funded through facility naming rights, private donations and city fund through half-cent sales tax dollars and golf course lease funds.

Zimny says this idea started as a dream five years ago, and through the support of the entire community in multiple ways, has become reality.

There's been a lot of individuals and businesses who have put in their time, talent and money. The city is helping with their financial commitment, the school district will continue to rent out the facility. It really is the whole community pitching in to make it happen and that feels great.

Zimny says they are still roughly $500,000 away from their goal, and will kick off the community fundraising phase next month.

If all goes well, construction is expected to get underway next week, with hopes of opening the arena in April.

Once completed the entire complex will be known as the SCHEELS Athletic Complex. The existing arena will continue to be known as Bernick's Arena.

Since 2001, the Sartell Youth Rec Center has promoted and encouraged the participation of young persons in amateur ice related sports and other organized athletic and recreational programs.

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(Photo: GLTArchitects)