A $10 million expansion of the Runestone Community Center in Alexandria is one step closer to getting done.

At its meeting Monday, Feb. 22, the Alexandria City Council voted to call for requests for proposals on the engineering and architectural work for the project.

Last October, the Minnesota Legislature included the expansion in its bonding bill. The state agreed to provide roughly half the cost, $5.6 million. The city, likely using tax abatement bonds and private funds raised by groups that use the facility, are expected to cover the rest of the cost.

In addition to adding a third rink to meet the surging demand for more ice time, the expansion will allow the RCC to host dry-floor events in the expansion area, which would free up ice arenas for skating and curling.

The project is also expected to have an economic impact by drawing more hockey players and their families from the region and out of the state who would travel here for tournaments.

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The city and RCC users have been talking about expanding the facility for about 10 years, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz.

The city has already completed some pre-design work but that information will need to be updated and reviewed by the state, Schultz said.

The deadline for the engineering and architectural work is March 22. The council could approve a proposal on April 12..

The RCC has served as a gathering place for west central Minnesota since its opening in 1978, drawing athletes and event attendees from across the state.

The original facility was constructed with one floor area that contains fixed and removable seating accommodating 1,600 spectators. A second floor was added 1994. Both floors are currently used for ice and dry floor events.