Multi-use construction could wrap up in May

Invermere council members heard that construction of the new multi-use centre should be completely wrapped up by the end of May.

Invermere council members heard, during their most recent meeting, that construction of the new multi-use centre should be completely wrapped up by the end of May.

Construction began last summer and district staff were required to give council an update on where progress stands after six months, which resulted in an update briefing on the facility at the Tuesday, January 10th council meeting.

In the update, chief administrative officer Chris Prosser wrote that the current cold conditions have not be favourable to construction work and have impacted the building schedule, but added, “that being said, the contractor is asserting that they intend to substantially complete by April 28th, 2017 and fully complete by May 23rd, 2017.”

“There have been so many steps in the process (of getting a new multi-use centre). It’s exciting to be nearing the final end of construction,” said Invermere mayor Gerry Taft.

The report outlined that work currently underway includes mudding and taping the main hall, installing the fire sprinkler system, starting the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system duct work, and finishing off the rough-in of the electrical system (which is already about 90 per cent complete).

The cold conditions have essentially put a halt to any work on the exterior cladding and, consequently, that part of the construction is falling behind schedule, but in the report Prosser said that once temperatures warm up, exterior work will recommence.

“In addition, some of the exterior landscaping work that remained in the contract will start up once the frost is out of the ground for final grading and placement of concrete for sidewalks and plazas,” he wrote.

Elevators are tentatively scheduled to go in on February 1st, but that will depend on BC Hydro being able to provide three-phase power service before then. The final interior component to be installed will be the sports floor, which should start getting installed at some point in late March and be fully installed by mid-April.

When construction is complete and the district takes possession of the building, it plans to then move ahead and implement several aspects of the new centre that are not included in the construction contract, including: a moveable partition; putting in kitchen equipment and ventilation systems; finishing off the parking lot and access road; installing irrigation and doing a bit of small scale landscaping; co-ordinating leasehold improvements for the library; getting tables, chairs and lobby furnishing; installing solar panels (pending a grant application); and, if need be, street improvements and extending the water line.

District staff plan to put out tenders for most of these items in the next few months, as well as for several other non-essential items awaiting funding (should that funding come through), including retractable seating; performing arts curtains; performing arts audio visual and sound systems; and a performing arts pipe grid and lighting system.

The report outlined that district staff have spend nearly 900 hours on the project so far, and that in terms of finances, the centre costs are currently projected at 1.22 per cent higher that the awarded contract price of $7.45 million.

“Industry standard for a project of this scope is typically around the nine to 11 per cent (above awarded contract price) at this point in the project. Most of the changes (in cost) have been warranted due to conflicting or missing information or outright improvements to the project,” wrote Prosser, adding that with five months left until construction is scheduled to be complete, district staff are confident the extra costs (which stands at $91,000 so far) will not exceed the centre’s $750,000 contingency fund.

During the meeting, council members indicated a desire to take a tour of the site, and Prosser replied that could be arranged.

Library board seat to be filled

Valley resident and Invermere public library board member Helen Kipp attended the January 10th meeting, asking council if it would consider nominating an Invermere resident to fill the library board seat allotted Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Area G, which Kipp said has been vacant for some time.

“We haven’t had a stable board for a full year now. It would be good to have a full board again,” said Kipp.

Prosser responded that the RDEK has somebody from Area G interested in filling the position and is waiting for a formal application from this person. He added that district staff would wait another month for that process and that if nothing comes of it, they would pressure the RDEK to see if somebody from Invermere could fill that board seat instead of an Area G resident.