PoolBy Lukas Eggen
Ely Times Staff Writer

The White Pine Aquatics Center is on schedule for its Fourth of July opening SH Architecture Vide President Eric Roberts said. Roberts reported on the progress being made at the County Commission’s meeting on Oct. 9. So far, things have gone according to plan.

“Construction has gone well,” Roberts said. “There have been a few surprises with some of the existing conditions that we found once we started to move dirt, but CORE Construction has done a great job keeping the project on schedule.”
While the project has gone smoothly overall, there were a few issues to work through since breaking ground during the summer. And there’s a continuing process to help look for areas to save the county money to ensure it comes in at or below the budget of $7 million for construction.

“There were some issues to work through with how deep some of the existing utilities were located and some coordination with some of the utility companies but everyone was willing to come to the table and work things out for the betterment of the project,” Roberts said. “The guaranteed maximum price that was approved by the county was approved with some required value engineering to meet the county’s budget. The design and construction teams have been working diligently with the county’s team to refine the design in many areas to keep costs down without sacrificing quality.”

Part of keeping the project on schedule includes meetings with a committee comprised by county employees. Those meetings are to discuss progress and any challenges as well as making “quick decision” to keep the project moving.

“We meet via teleconference for a few hours every week with the county committee, the contractor’s team and our design team to discuss the project progress,” Roberts said. “I’m also up on site a couple times a month to meet in person and check in on the construction. The county team has been an invaluable asset in keeping the project moving. We established some hefty goals for project savings when we started and we are working together to meet those goals.”

The next step is to get the building sealed up before the winter weather sets in, which could set the project back, Roberts said.

“There are some ‘float days’ built into the schedule that accommodates for things like weather,” Roberts said. “However, it is critical that we get the building sealed up before it gets too cold and snowy this winter.”
Once the building is sealed, construction will move indoors during the winter when the pools will be constructed.

“The most difficult thing left is the actual pool construction,” Roberts said. “That is intricate and time consuming work that will take a number of months. We are also still chasing a value engineering cost savings number that will allow us to put solar panels on the roof for energy savings, so that will continue to be a challenge that we will whittle away.”

While there may not be much progress made on the outside of the building during the winter months, Roberts said by the end of November the building will begin to take shape for the public to see.

“The visible construction of the project will slow down by Thanksgiving as the progress will move indoors,” Roberts said. “Around the fifth of November, the steel trusses for the natatorium will be moved into place with a crane. Once that roof is on and the roof deck sealed, they will start digging the pool and the internal work will progress in earnest. The community will have a pretty good idea of what the building will look like in the next couple weeks.”