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Skate center in Alpharetta to expand, adding outdoor stage, volleyball

If the city of Alpharetta approves of it, The Cooler is about to get bigger and better.

Plans have been submitted to the city’s design review board for The Cooler – also known as “the Alpharetta Family Skate Center” – to be expanded.

The board will review the plans during an 8:30 a.m. Friday meeting. 


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The proposed expansion for the skate center would include the addition of three beach volleyball courts, a splash pad, an indoor and outdoor stage area with a video screen, two meeting halls and an expansion to the bar and grill. All the outdoor additions would be fenced in.

If approved, construction on the project would begin in August, with an expected completion date by April 2019. The architect on the project is Jeff Wasserman of NorthPoint Consultants.

The Cooler is owned and operated by John Bardis, who recently resigned from his post with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after about a year on the job. Bardis is also a former collegiate wrestler and founded a hospital software company, MedAssets. He sold the company in 2016.

Plans for the expansion say that the goal is to develop an indoor and outdoor venue at The Cooler for the “community to foster family activities and use.” With the volleyball court, new outdoor movie screen and stage, The Cooler hopes to host volleyball matches, family movie nights and musical performances.

The Cooler first opened in 1997 and has become a hot spot for birthday parties and events. In December, it hosted a college wrestling meet between Ohio State and Chattanooga. It regularly hosts public ice and roller skating, as well as hockey games. There is also a restaurant inside, Finley’s.


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