Glen Moberg/WPR News
A curling center that's been described as the finest in the world is now up and running in Wausau. The facility is expected to be a big boost for the local economy.
It's a Wednesday afternoon at the new curling center, and the place is buzzing. About 50 high school kids are sweeping in front of heavy rounded stones in a cavernous structure, which is unique in the nation. Jeff Stubbe is Vice President of the Wausau Curling Club: "the only club that has Olympic size sheets... and we have eight of them. Now there are a few other clubs that have eight sheets, but they're not Olympic size. So this is unique, it's one of a kind in the United States, and it might be the best place in the world for curling."
The building covers an acre of ground. More than 12 miles of plastic piping carry refrigerants under the ice. There is an observation area with seating, a big co-ed locker room, and even wheelchair access for handicapped players. Stubbe says you won't see any hockey played here. "Curling takes a very unique kind of ice to have world class ice. It's all set up for curling, it's totally designed for curling, and as you can see it's a busy place."
The new center is expected to draw athletes from around the world to bonspiel competitions, and provide a significant boost to the Wausau economy. Jeff Stubbe says it's already paying off. "We just signed our 64th team for the men's bonspiel, so that brings 256 people to town that are going to get hotel rooms and do things here. Wausau's an incredible community. It just blows me away."
The new curling center cost just over $4 million, all of which was raised through private donations.