After a two-month delay, construction on the East Recreation Center got underway Monday, Aug. 27, promising significant upgrades throughout the three decades old building and in the parking lot and pool areas.
The $2.3 million project, which began with discussions about replacing the rotted wrap-around
deck, expanded into a major restoration including refurbishing the pool and spa and interior and exterior improvements to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Iris Harrell, Building Construction Committee chair who is overseeing the project, estimated 50 percent of the additional cost is due to ADA.
“This is what happens when you do things piecemeal as opposed to approaching the East Rec as part of a master plan,” she said, noting there have been years of deferred maintenance. Pedestrian access is expected to be available during the construction, although the building will be closed. Parking on the street may be required when crews dig a trench for a new high capacity water line for the fire sprinklers being added.
A construction fence now surrounds the building. Clubs using the East Rec have been relocated for the project duration, but pickleball and tennis players will not be affected. Pool tables from the lower level were moved to the East Golf Course clubroom, provided at no cost by the Oakmont Golf Club.
A NEW LOOK INSIDE
When work is completed in January, the East Rec will look much the same on the outside except for the replacement of the existing deck with a shorter, wider one using Trex with a cable wire railing. Only accessible from the main auditorium, the deck will accommodate six or seven outdoor tables and chairs.
The swimming pool is being resurfaced, lights added and the spa is being replaced. Two chair lifts are being added and the deck around the pool and spa are being repaved.
Users will see more grass and less concrete as well as places to sit under blue shade sails. New landscaping is also planned for the grounds as the approach to the building and parking lot are made ADA compliant. Bathrooms and locker rooms are being upgraded to ADA standards.
Some of the most apparent changes will occur on the inside as the building is transformed from a 1960s interior into a more modern and functional space that Harrell describes as “a pleasing, welcoming East Rec.”
Carpeting is being replaced with luxury vinyl plank that doesn’t need refinishing. The puffy cottage cheese ceilings will be replaced with one-inch thick acoustical panels. All lighting will be LED. The conference room will have a wider opening to allow access to the auditorium. An expanded storage area will be used for chairs which have been stored in the conference room.
Among the most frequent complaints from the 22 clubs using the East Rec were about an inadequate audio-visual system, poor lighting and poor sound-proofing. A hearing loop is being installed. New AV equipment and automatic shades will aid presentations. Wooden soundproof doors will replace glass doors. New acoustical panels will cover the “high hat” portion of the auditorium ceiling with photos of original art wrapped around them.
Nordby Construction, the contractor, is also is performing seismic strengthening on the four corners of the Berger Center under the same contract.