by Colin Smith
The engineers have signed off on repairs to the Ray McDonald Sports Center intended to prolong the arena’s useable life for a least two years.
A report from Read Jones Christoffersen received by Town Council at its Mar. 24 regular meeting indicated the firm’s satisfaction with the structural repairs completed.
“To the best of our knowledge and belief, the repair details have been completed according to the structural drawings,” the report states. “We also understand that the column base deterioration noted in AECOM reports dated between 2012 and 2013 have been repaired under the professional direction of Rogowsky Engineering Ltd.”
The firm is of the opinion that the snow load capacity of the roof has been restored to that of the original design and a snow load restriction on the roof of the arena is no longer required.
Between Nov. 11 and Dec. 27, 2014 Rogowsky Engineering repaired 15 of the arena’s 22 columns, removing rotten wood and replacing it with concrete and/or cement grout. The other seven columns were considered adequate without repair.
Read Jones Christoffersen was retained to do an additional and independent structural assessment that resulted in the recommendation to also repair and upgrade the truss-to-column connections at several locations throughout the arena.
This work was done in February, causing a partial closure of the arena from the Feb. 2 to 20.
Council allocated $150,000 for repairs in December, following an assessment of what it would take to keep the aging facility open during the winter. The actual cost of the project is expected to be about $106,000 once all invoices are in.
Rogowsky Engineering has pointed out that the column repairs are intended to have a life of at least two years. While they may last longer, the possibility of further rot in the columns makes that uncertain.
Because of this Read Jones Christophersen recommends an annual site visit by a structural engineer to check for additional distress to columns and roof trusses, as well as for water coming in and causing rust or rot to building structural elements.
Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun declared herself “cautiously optimistic” on the basis of the engineering reports assessing the repairs.
“The repairs have extended the useful life of the arena for two to three years,” she said. “Beyond this the uncertainty increases. We will continue to monitor as per engineering recommendations and carry out our regularly scheduled repairs and maintenance for the aging facility.”
Arena structural inspection costs, expected to be $1,500 to $2,000 annually, will be included in the 2016 operational budget. Inspection updates will be brought to Council.
Council held a public open house Thursday night to look at the broader picture of community recreation and what components may be added when the arena is replaced.