The job of rehabilitating the Nelson and District Aquatic Centre won't be cheap. Contractors are about to start ripping the ceiling out.

Nelson aquatic centre ceiling coming down

The Regional District of Central Kootenay says it could cost up to $600,000 to fix the ceiling at the Nelson and District Aquatic Centre.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay now says it could cost up to $600,000 to fix the ceiling at the Nelson and District Aquatic Centre.

The facility has been closed since late January after some tile fell from the ceiling and into the pool. In a statement this week, the regional district said scaffolding is completed and crews are setting up a containment area as they prepare to remove the false ceiling in phase two of the project.

“It will feel great for all our staff to see the t-bar ceiling actually taken down because it means we’re one step closer to fixing the pool area and getting our community their aquatic centre back,” said Joe Chirico, General Manager of Community Services.

This second phase of the project is expected to be done by late April. The regional district has hired Phoenix Enterprises Ltd. to undertake three main tasks.

The first is to set up a containment area, which includes enclosing the work site in plastic sheeting to keep lead paint and tiles within the construction zone. Crews will also built temporary walls in the fitness centre to separate it from the pool viewing area during demolition.

The second task is to take down the ceiling according to WorkSafeBC guidelines for removing hazardous materials. Lead paint has flaked from steel girders onto the surface of the ceiling tiles, although the tiles themselves aren’t hazardous.

The third job is to sandblast the roof trusses so they can be repainted with lead-free paint.

Removing the false ceiling will cost close to $100,000, which the regional district says is at the upper end of what they expected.

Further repairs and renovations will include wall improvements to fully separate the fitness centre from the aquatic centre to ensure longevity of the building, as well as new paint, lighting, and acoustic treatments, bringing the total project cost to about $600,000.

“We’re very conscious that when you tear apart an older building, you can find things you weren’t expecting,” Chirico said in the statement. “So far we’ve been fortunate that most of what we’ve found had been anticipated. As anyone who has renovated an older house knows, this definitely isn’t always the case.”

The regional district board approved the project budget on March 28.

“Our main criteria throughout this project are that the pool area needs to be safe, functional and up to modern standards for the coming years,” said recreation commission chair Ramona Faust. “This facility has a lot of life left in it, and we want to see families, seniors and everyone in our community back enjoying the pool area as soon as we can.”

Depending upon how work progresses, the earliest the aquatic centre could reopen is June.

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