If you gaze through the windows of the upstairs gym of the Nelson and District Community Complex, you can look down at an emptied pool full of rubble, where demolition crews have nearly completed preparing it for the next stage of construction.
“It’s a fairly complicated job and it’s going to get even more so with the co-ordination of all the trades coming in,” project manager Jeff Phillips told the Star. “Thankfully we’ve got Unitech for construction, and they’re used to this type of work. They’ve got their hands full.”
At this point crews have removed most of the aging equipment and emptied the facility’s basement. “We still have to maintain the existing facility, but basically we went in there and we were taking things apart, working around things, doing the mechanical, HVAC and electrical demo,” Phillips said.
“We had to make sure we didn’t cut in the wrong places, and there was quite a lot of corroded metal in there — which was the catalyst for the project in the first place. Everything is going to be upgraded and more energy efficient.”
Thirty-five per cent of the pool gutter has been removed and the resulting rubble will be gone within the next few days. The rest will be finished by Nov. 16. The bulkhead has also been removed.
Phillips praised management for making the facility last as long as it did. He was initially concerned about this stage of the process because “this is when the surprises come out” but so far they haven’t had many unforeseen complications.
“This stuff was definitely on its last legs, and kudos to the people running this place for limping it through,” Phillips said. They’re hoping all the work will be done by local contractors. Tender drawings and documents have been released, with the closing date set for Nov. 19. “So far all the work has gone local and we hope that continues,” Phillips said.
Recreation manager Marty Benson couldn’t be more thrilled about the project. He said though it’s been an inconvenience for patrons, everyone has been supportive and understanding.
“It’s going to feel continuous, instead of like it’s been patched together over 40 years. I’m excited to have a properly-functioning facility people will be able to enjoy.”
He’s grateful for the community’s patience.
“Most people haven’t seen this type of work done before and we probably won’t see it again either. One of the biggest takeaways is how understanding everyone’s been, and they’re still keeping this place active.”
He’s looking forward to when it’s up and running. “This means we can put the Band-Aids away and run this facility the way it’s meant to be run.”
The pool closed on Sept. 19 for what is expected to be an 11-month shutdown. The project is budgeted at $4.8 million.