Highland Arena Site Improvement Project

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Highland Arena building exterior

Project background

Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena in Saint Paul is one of Ramsey County’s busiest ice arenas, consisting of one year-round rink, one seasonal rink, a synthetic ice training area, and public meeting and lobby spaces. The existing parking lot, curbs and drainage infrastructure are degraded and failing. Water has begun running into the building, causing interior water damage. Facility expansion in the past has added to the drainage issues and site circulation problems.

Additionally, parking capacity does not sufficiently meet current facility program and event needs. The facility parking lots and sidewalks do not meet current requirements for ADA accessibility, and traffic flow and entry to the facility is inefficient. Existing site lighting is insufficient, and the facility has experienced several instances of petty theft from parked vehicles in the past. This project is an effort to address these, and possibly additional, issues for the long term.

Saint Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS) owns the land on which the facility is located, as well as the reservoirs located immediately west and north of the facility. The reservoir west of the arena, Reservoir #1, is scheduled for demolition as part of this project. It has been out of commission since 2014 due to declining water usage.

Highland Park Reservoir Demo project


This project is a partnership between the county and SPRWS and will help minimize construction costs, coordinate the site design and optimize the overall construction sequencing to improve the Highland Arena and reservoir site to better serve residents.

Project goals

  • Improved stormwater management on-site.
  • New bituminous pavement and associated site concrete, signage, lighting, and striping for safer, more efficient parking.
  • Improved pedestrian traffic flow throughout the site and facility.
  • Replacement of end-of-life-cycle facility HVAC equipment.
  • Improved landscaping.
  • Reservoir demolition to facilitate future site use.

Tentative project timeline

  • Design and estimating services – September - November 2020.
  • Planning, permitting, procurement – December 2020 - March 2021.
  • Construction services – April 2021 - October 2021.

Project status

Updates as of August 18, 2021: 


  • The arena and parking lot remain open throughout the entire construction process.The south parking lot has reopened for use, and the north parking lot has closed. All traffic will be routed to the south lot.
  • Plan ahead for limited parking and follow all access paths and signage on-site.
  • Parking is not permitted along the fence, which is reserved for construction personnel and emergency vehicles. 
  • Landscaping and other miscellaneous work will continue in the south parking lot. Utility work inside and outside the fence will be ongoing in the north lot area.  


  • Demolition, export and earthwork at the former reservoir area is ongoing.
  • Underground chamber system work in the north lot, inside the fence, has begun.
  • Concrete stairs and sidewalk near the historic water tower has started. Other work in the north lot area, such as site lighting and retaining walls has also started. 
  • Main entry door replacement and mechanical work has begun.
  • Rooftop mechanical work is expected to occur in November.

Timelapse camera

View progress of the reservoir demolition work. The project timelapse camera updates daily, every 15 minutes between 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Project timelapse