From the Centre: Improved arena surface nearing completion

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Today’s column is brought to you by the letter C for construction, or in the case where you are not interested in the repair project to the arena and lobby, today’s letter is B for boring. For myself, having a carpentry background, as well as a house in a constant state of renovation, the fact that we have been working in construction zone since mid-2008 is not overly troubling as it may be for others. The upside is that all the staff as well as the majority of patrons recognize that we are just about at the end of a chapter in the life of this building that has been truly historical.

Delving into what’s documented of our past history, there are many citizens out there who were involved in the dream of building the original rec centre and quite likely, I would imagine, had various degrees of involvement — all of them important in achieving what we had for the past 35 or so years. Realistically, we have moved through the same process with the addition to the original building — many people, including yourselves, have had some form of involvement in making this latest dream a reality — whether you voted yes in the referendum oh so long ago to those that voted no but still come here with their families to support the decision of the community as a whole to those directly involved with promotion or actual design and construction. I guess you could sum up that long-winded paragraph with, “It takes a community to raise a community complex.”

One thing I notice about the repair project for the arena is that it seems we have a lot more going on in a very narrow time period and an air of urgency seems to be hanging in the air. When you read this, we will probably be in the midst of wrapping up the Dagwood sandwich that makes the refrigerated floor up to the ice slab stage.

If memory serves, that sandwich starts with a fairly deep excavation to native soil, a layer of drain rock, fabric barrier, a layer of compacted granular engineered fill, a layer of compacted washed sand containing piping loops for under slab heat and thermal storage, a six-millimetre poly vapour barrier, three staggered layers of two-inch high density foam insulation, and two staggered layers of six-millimetre poly slip sheet. Now we are actually at the ice slab itself, which is a co-ordinated mish-mash of steel mesh, steel “chairs” that hold the one-inch refrigeration piping in a prescribed place and pattern every four inches and a layer of rebar at one-foot centres on top to hold the whole mess down.

For both the heat floor in the sand when it was being covered and the ice slab when it is being poured, the piping is pressurized and gauges watched very carefully — if the pressure drops, there is a leak and once located, that loop has to be replaced immediately. You can imagine how hairy things would get if that happened and, quite likely, a new help wanted sign would pop up at Kootenay Employment Services.

The structural re-bracing is almost completed under the Creston Room and hopefully we have encountered and dealt with most of the surprises hidden in the original construction. There is a new section of the floor poured beside the ice arena (where you would stand and watch the game or sip mint juleps) and they are removing the balance of the old floor to modernize and relocate the plumbing. Once the ice slab is poured, there will be a seven-day curing period and then the new arena boards and glass will be installed, which is a weeklong or so process.

You’ll also be glad to know that the contractors working on this project are showing the care and attention to detail that we saw on the pool and fitness addition, the end result being a facility that will serve the community well into the future.

Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.