Piscataquis County Ice Arena Credit: Courtesy of Matt Spooner, Piscataquis County Ice Arena

The Piscataquis County Ice Arena will be transformed into a clinic to administer COVID-19 vaccinations beginning later this month.

The Libra Foundation and Foxcroft Academy offered the building to Northern Light Health to aid its vaccination efforts in the region.

More vaccination sites have been opening around the state as Gov. Janet Mills expands the groups who are eligible to receive the vaccine. As of Wednesday, people age 60 and older could get their vaccinations. Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies, and recently Hannaford, have joined the long list of health care locations where people can be vaccinated.

The ice arena in Dover-Foxcroft was determined to be big enough to accommodate large numbers of people from Piscataquis County and surrounding areas who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccination thanks to its accessibility, parking, location and ample floor space.

“Northern Light Mayo and C.A. Dean hospitals are grateful for the partnership with Foxcroft Academy and the Libra Foundation that has made it possible for us to use this space,” Marie Vienneau, Northern Light Health senior vice president, said. “Using this location as a vaccination site will significantly enhance our ability to efficiently vaccinate more residents of Piscataquis County and the surrounding region. It’s another step in the battle against COVID-19.”

The transformation of the arena into a vaccination site will require the removal of the facility’s ice surface.

Arena staff are working closely with staff from Northern Light Health to prepare the building to open as a vaccination site as soon as possible, and current PCIA programming is set to conclude on Sunday, March 7, to facilitate that process.

The current plan is for ice to be restored at the arena in August.

“We do appreciate that we have an opportunity to play a role in assisting in bringing the pandemic to an end as soon as possible,” said Arnold Shorey, Foxcroft Academy head of school and an active curler at PCIA. “It is not missed that this initiative will result in PCIA programming, which is very important to the community, ending earlier than planned.”

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...