|Big Dipper Ice Arena|
|Address:||1920 Lathrop St Map|
|City:||Fairbanks, AK Map|
|Phone #:||(907) 459-1076|
From Airport way, turn onto Lathrop street towards Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. Follow Lathrop street approximately 1 mile, Big Dipper Ice Arena is on your right.
The Big Dipper Ice Arena, colloquially known as "The Big Dipper", is a multi-purpose arena in Fairbanks, Alaska. The arena is owned and operated by the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Originally constructed as an airplane hangar for the Lend-Lease program in Tanacross, southeast of Fairbanks, the building was dismantled, transported to Fairbanks and reassembled in 1968. It has undergone two major renovations since then. The borough's parks and recreation department is headquartered in the building.
Prior to 1968, the building now known as the Big Dipper was an aircraft hangar located in Tanacross, Alaska. Constructed during World War II, the building saw little use after the war. In 1968, Hez Ray, a teacher and coach at Lathrop High School, organized a crew of volunteers and undertook a project to move the derelict hangar to Fairbanks and repurpose it as an ice skating arena. The group purchased the hangar for a dollar and, using equipment donated by Fairbanks construction companies, dismantled the building and moved it to Fairbanks. The volunteers then reconstructed the building in its present location from the dismantled parts of the hangar. After rebuilding the hangar, the volunteers built an ice rink and bleachers inside, but due to a lack of resources the building itself was reconstructed essentially as it had been in Tanacross. Heated restrooms and locker rooms with showers were added in 1972-1973. The building itself remained unheated until its 1980s renovation, with large portable space heaters normally associated with airplane hangars used on occasion in the winter, in an attempt to provide some heat to the facility during events.