CONTACT: Jon Lundin, Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games Head of Communications & Media ([email protected]) Tel: 518-637-6885


SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. — The Saranac Lake Civic Center’s $7 million expansion and upgrade is on track to be completed in early December and the center will be ready to host the curling competition for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, according to project director Peter Dimmig.

“We’ll be ready for these Games for sure,” said Dimmig. “We’re excited to bring the world’s attention to our little town.”

The Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, set for Jan. 12-22, is the world’s largest multisport winter collegiate competition, expected to draw more than 2,500 athletes and delegates from 600 universities in 50 countries. The biennial Games will feature events in 12 sports, hosted in North Country communities including Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, North Creek, Wilmington, Canton and Potsdam.

For curling, the civic center’s usual hockey ice will be converted to five sheets (lanes) of curling ice. Ten nations have been selected as entrants in both the men’s and women’s events. In the men’s division, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States will compete. The women’s division includes Australia, Canada, China, Spain, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Sweden and the U.S.

Defending gold medalists are Norway (men) and Sweden (women) from the 2019 Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The FISU World University Games were not held in 2021 due to the worldwide pandemic. The U.S. men won the gold medal in 2007, with future Olympic champion John Shuster and Olympian Chris Plys in the lineup. That represents the only U.S. FISU curling medal for men or women since 2007, when curling made its FISU debut.

“It’s going to be an intimate venue,” said Rick Patzke, director of competition services for the 2023 FISU World University Games. “Curling has had great success in smaller venues like this around the country and for the University Games it’ll stand out. The sport gets quite a bit of a following. The Saranac Lake Curling Club has been very excited and supportive.”

Athletes and delegates are expected to be housed at Paul Smiths College, said Patzke, who spent 23 years with USA Curling, including 13 as the national governing body’s CEO.

“The sport’s going to feel very welcome there from a standpoint of proximity to where the athletes will be staying and the officials. Everything’s going to be right there within a few minutes’ drive for the athletes and for the officials. It’s going to be a really good setup, in terms of being able to get back and forth and not spending a long time on drives and buses,” he added.

The civic center is getting long-needed improvements, including six new locker rooms with bathrooms; a new air-conditioned lobby area and entrance; a heated second-floor mezzanine viewing area; 500-seat spectator stands and conditioned interior space; an upgraded ice plant with new chiller; LED lighting and insulated exterior siding and a snack bar. There’s also a new electric Zamboni, scoreboard and team bus parking area. The state-of-the art building will be compliant with American Disability Act (ADA) regulations, Dimmig said.

Groundbreaking for the project took place in December 2021. “The project’s moving ahead as good or better than expected,” said Dimmig.

Insulated siding arrived in June, three months ahead of schedule, and was installed this summer. The roof is completed, and concrete floors are set. With the building enclosed for winter, workers can complete interior construction without having to depend on good weather, Dimmig said.

New York State is providing a $4.5 million Empire State Development capital grant through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. Businesses and residents have raised $1.76 million and work continues to raise another $700,000, Dimmig said. Donors can support the center by making checks payable to SLCC, P.O. Box 1040, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. For credit cards visit

With improvements like heating, conditioning and insulation, Dimmig said the 24,000-square foot building can be used for events like boat and car shows and meetings in the lobby and mezzanine.

“It’s exciting to see it all coming together now that it’s a partnership with New York State and Saranac Lake,” said Patzke. “It’s going to be a huge improvement and a legacy project for Saranac Lake.”