BOONE — Watauga County is 469 days into work on its community recreation center and is drawing closer to its current completion date of May 1.
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners heard from Chad Roberson, an architect with Clark Nexsen, at its Jan. 21 meeting. Roberson said “a lot of progress” had been made, such as the completion of the exterior concrete work and interior drywall and paint in the administration area.
Construction employees were starting to pour concrete for the pool decks on Jan. 21, and Roberson said roughly half of the radiant floor in the competition pool area was complete. Pool equipment would soon be installed as well as tiles in the pool for the lanes, Roberson said.
To date, the project had experienced 41 weather days, which Roberson said hadn’t been a factor since around November when most of the exterior part of the project was completed.
While the current completion date is in May, County Manager Deron Geouque reminded the commissioners that the building may not be ready for occupancy by that date. Geouque said the county would need to factor in training for the new employees and ensuring that equipment is working properly.
The board approved a $127,252.30 change order for extra soil testing and inspections by Wood Environmental and Infrastructure Solutions. Chairman John Welch assured those in the audience that the change order does not increase the total amount for the project’s budget. Rather, the county will use contingency funds for the change order.
Roberson said the county had expended approximately $27,663,510 of the rec center’s budget to date, with roughly $5,926,497.51 left in project funds.
Parks and Recreation Director Stephen Poulos approached the board with a proposed membership and rental fee schedule after officials compared prices of similar facilities. The commissioners tabled discussion of the fees until their pre-budget retreat, which they scheduled from noon to 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 14 in the commissioners board room.
The board also approved Poulos’ request of $293,450.97 for the facility’s gym equipment. Of this amount, $101,144.56 was being awarded to Gym Source for treadmills, bikes and elliptical machines, and Wellness Solutions was being given $192,306.41 for remaining fitness equipment. The board then approved $24,618.06 to pay APCO Carolinas for interior signage; Geouque said funds in the budget covered that expense.
Additionally, the commissioners contemplated the Boone Town Council’s proposal for a joint meeting to discuss the future of the county-owned Turner House building on Water Street. Geouque said Town Manager John Ward reached out to him with dates the council could meet. Geouque added that he would try to plan with the commissioners a date for either members for each council to meet or for both full boards to meet, as well as request that the town provide ideas for alternative locations for a parking deck.