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GROUP SEEKS EXTRA FUNDS TO BUILD ICE-SKATING CENTER

An Ogden citizens group backing construction of an Olympic ice skating center on the Weber State University campus says it's a bit short on covering the $5.9 million price tag.

"We need to have some assistance," Max Thompson, chairman of Weber County People for Jobs, Opportunity and the Olympics, told Wednesday's monthly meeting of the Utah Sports Authority.The Sports Authority controls about $56 million in state sales tax revenues being used to build competition facilities to help Salt Lake City in its bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics. It already has promised $3 million toward construction of the Ogden ice rink.

Now the citizens group is seeking an additional $250,000 from the Sports Authority, said Thompson, to complete funding of the ice facility that would host some preliminary Olympic skating and hockey events if Salt Lake City is selected as the Games host.

The Sports Authority previously had indicated it might give the Ogden group the interest the $3 million will have earned by the time it is turned over, or about $135,000. That would mean the state agency would have to come up with only an additional $115,000 if it decides to approve the new Ogden request.

The Sports Authority will vote Oct. 5 on the application. It also is expected to approve the construction schedule for the 2,000-seat skating rink that will sit just to the northwest of WSU's basketball arena.

The project is scheduled to be put out for bid later this month. But the bids will not be awarded until after the Oct. 5 meeting, most likely before the end of October. Construction then is to begin in November.

It will take about 12 months to complete the project, said Thompson, an Ogden real estate broker.