Pettit National Ice Center

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Pettit National Ice Center
Pettit National Ice Center.jpg
North entrance in March 2006
Full nameThe Pettit National Ice Center
Former namesWisconsin Olympic Ice Rink
(outdoors, 1967–1991)
Location500 South 84th Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Coordinates43°01′32″N 88°00′58″W / 43.0256°N 88.016°W / 43.0256; -88.016Coordinates: 43°01′32″N 88°00′58″W / 43.0256°N 88.016°W / 43.0256; -88.016
Capacity2,500 – major events on oval
Acreage200,000 sq ft (19,000 m2) – building
155,000 sq ft (14,400 m2) – arena
  97,000 sq ft (9,000 m2) – ice
SurfaceIce – 400 m oval, two hockey rinks
OpenedJanuary 1, 1993 (1993-01-01)
26 years ago
Construction cost$13 million
($23.2 million in 2018 dollars[1])
Milwaukee is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Milwaukee is located in Wisconsin
Location in Wisconsin

The Pettit National Ice Center is an indoor ice skating facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, featuring two international-size ice rinks and a 400-meter speed skating oval. Located adjacent to Wisconsin State Fair Park, the center opened on January 1, 1993, and was named for Milwaukee philanthropists Jane and Lloyd Pettit. Although Wisconsin State Fair Park owns the land and the building, the Pettit National Ice Center Inc., a non-profit corporation, has operated the site since the facility opened.[2]

The Pettit Center replaced, and was constructed, on land once occupied by the Wisconsin Olympic Ice Rink, an outdoor facility that was in operation from 1967 to 1991. The indoor, climate-controlled Pettit Center was a major improvement and continues to attract many skating athletes from around the world. The West Allis Speedskating Club trains on its rink, as well as the Elite S.W.I.F.T. speed skating team featuring world class speed skaters. The Wisconsin Edge synchronized skating team practices on the figure skating rinks, shared with the Milwaukee Blaze and Milwaukee Jr. Admirals youth ice hockey clubs.

The rink[edit]

The Pettit is one of only thirty indoor 400-meter ovals in the world, the sixth oldest, and is an official US Olympic training facility.[3] The Pettit has hosted numerous skating competitions, including the National Short and Long Track Speed Skating Championships, the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships, and the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Time Trials. The elevation of the facility at street level is approximately 720 feet (220 m) above sea level.

The rink also hosts a skating school that offers classes for children and adults in figure skating, ice hockey, and speed skating.

Olympic speed skating gold medalists Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen were the rink's first skaters.

Facility statistics[edit]

  • $13 million facility
  • Area:
    • 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) — total building
    • 155,000 square feet (14,400 m2) — arena
  • 97,000 square feet (9,000 m2) of total ice
  • 400-meter oval designed for long track speed skating
  • Two international-sized (30 m × 61 m (98 ft × 200 ft)) rinks for ice hockey, figure skating, and short track speed skating
  • 450-meter, three-lane jogging track surrounding the ice oval
  • 150-person capacity Hall of Fame lounge overlooking the ice arena
  • Skate rental facilities with figure, hockey and speed skates

Track records[edit]


Event Name Country Time Date Average speed
100 m Tucker Fredricks  United States 9.66 October 21, 2009 23.18 mph (37.30 km/h)
500 m Mitchell Whitmore                United States 34.90 January 26, 2018 32.04 mph (51.56 km/h)
1,000 m Shani Davis  United States 1:08.33 November 26, 2005 32.74 mph (52.69 km/h)
1,500 m Chad Hedrick  United States 1:44.47 October 24, 2009 32.12 mph (51.69 km/h)
3,000 m Jonathan Kuck  United States 3:42.69 October 8, 2011 30.10 mph (48.44 km/h)
5,000 m Chad Hedrick  United States 6:16.23 October 26, 2008 29.73 mph (47.85 km/h)
10,000 m Jonathan Kuck  United States 13:17.28 December 18, 2010 28.05 mph (45.14 km/h)


Event Name Country Time Date Average speed
100 m Heather Richardson-Bergsma  United States 10.33 January 9, 2015 21.72 mph (34.95 km/h)
500 m Heather Richardson-Bergsma  United States 37.24 January 9, 2015 30.07 mph (48.39 km/h)
1,000 m Brittany Bowe  United States 1:13.81 January 11, 2015 30.31 mph (48.78 km/h)
1,500 m Brittany Bowe  United States 1:53.50      January 10, 2015 29.56 mph (47.57 km/h)
3,000 m Heather Richardson-Bergsma  United States 4:05.83 January 9, 2015 27.30 mph (43.94 km/h)
5,000 m Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann  Germany 7:02.11 February 6, 2000 26.50 mph (42.65 km/h)
10,000 m Melissa Dahlmann  United States 15:49.11 January 26, 2013 23.57 mph (37.93 km/h)

Possible sale[edit]

Opened on December 31, 1992, the Pettit National Ice Center combined private and public sources for its construction funding. A financial restructuring in conjunction with the State of Wisconsin in January 2007 allowed the Pettit Center to be relieved of burdensome lease payments and past-due rent to the State through a negotiated payment of more than $5 million funded by bank-sponsored financing and a $2 million private contribution. Today, the Pettit National Ice Center, Inc. operates as a private, 501(c)-3 non-profit corporation, that generates 90% of its revenue from operations, including public skating, skating instruction, youth and adult figure skating and hockey programs, running track, and group and corporate meetings, as well as Olympic training. The balance is received through facility and program sponsorships and charitable contributions. The Center has a balanced annual operating budget, while continuing to raise sponsorships and charitable contributions for payment of manageable debt obligations.


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  2. ^ "Report Highlights". An Audit: State Fair Park. Janice Mueller, state auditor. June 2006.
  3. ^ About Us. Pettit National Ice Center.

External links[edit]