Community center roof repair set to reopen – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune According to a structural report, the roof of the Ashland Community Center is sagging, the north exterior wall is sloped and the ground is not level.

ASHLAND – Despite hopes that obtaining recommendations from an ad hoc committee of industry professionals would speed up the reopening of the Ashland Community Center on Winburn Way, the building is several months away from safe occupancy, according to city ​​officials.

Director of Public Works Scott Fleury said Ashland’s building manager considered two separate engineering reports detailing structural deficiencies in the roof of the community center, particularly for snow carrying capacity and the “potential deformations of the structure over time”, and determined that for safety, repairs should be done before occupancy of the building.

According to a structural report from Marquess & Associates Inc. – the engineering firm originally selected for the rehabilitation project – the roof of the community center is sagging, the exterior north walls are sloped and the ground is not level. At the neighboring Pioneer log cabin, the roof is sagging, the historic stone chimney is unsafe without reinforcement, and the floor beams need to be reinforced, but “logs treated below grade are in good condition.”

A Snyder Engineering assessment dated August 10 provides recommendations for analysis and repair on six major issues with the community center building: asymmetry of the north wall and foundations, sagging roof and ceiling above the main hall, roof framing poorly supported and “over-supported” roof, exterior wall cladding and spaces between support posts and footings.

After choosing not to approve a contract with Marquess, city council at its May 18 meeting appointed a citizens’ group to “review, analyze and make recommendations” for cost-effective options to repair and reopen Pioneer Hall and the community Center.

By a decisive vote, a motion was passed by Ashland City Council on September 21 to open the two buildings as soon as possible and issue a request for proposals through the public works department for the recommended actions outlined in the final report. of the ad hoc committee, which included the installation of a “moment frame” – a steel frame covered with drywall inside the community center auditorium with columns connected to new footings at ground level that support existing roof trusses.

According to city lawyer Katrina Brown, the city’s possession of engineering reports defining potential hazards could increase the overall liability of the project. An engineer’s assessment indicated that the building could collapse entirely; another engineer said the cap posed a significant risk, she said.

“We actually have written documents talking about the structural deficiencies of the community center, and therefore, of course, now the risk to the city, if it were to open these buildings without remedying these structural deficiencies, is greatly increased,” Brown said. . “I am not recommending that the community center be open until the roof is fixed.”

At the November 16 city council meeting, Fleury said that two processes associated with the community center rehabilitation project are underway: the two engineering reports.

According to the report of the ad hoc committee, the plant debris accumulated against the wooden foundations trap moisture, allow access to vermin and represent a significant fire risk, all made worse by unauthorized access to rear areas. of the building. Historical preservation consultant and ad hoc committee member George Kramer previously said the accumulated debris presented the “most dangerous condition” at both sites.

Fleury said Monday that the city’s planning department confirmed that the property – with a “severe” slope exceeding 35% – is subject to a physical stress review permit, which is required for activities on the grounds. hillside such as “leveling, filling, stripping or cutting involving more than 20 cubic yards on any lot. The tree felling required is also subject to the conditions of the superposition of physical and environmental constraints. code.

“For development other than single-family homes on individual lots, all grading, drainage or other soil disturbance improvements are only to take place from May 1 to October 31,” according to the code. “Excavation should not take place during the remaining wet months of the year. “

Fleury, citing a recent conference with the planning department, said the physical constraints permit requires a grading plan detailing excavation activities at the site, a storm drainage plan demonstrating proper runoff management and minimization. erosion, an inventory and assessment of each tree, and a geotechnical analysis report confirming that site conditions are suitable for the proposed construction activities.

“We also removed much of the build-up of material from the slope against the back of the building last week and plan to bring the geotechnical engineer back on site after the holidays to review the slope stability and recommend options for the future. versus a retaining wall or leave as is and perform periodic maintenance in the event of erosion, ”Fleury said in an email Monday.

Fleury said it issued a request for proposals on November 2 for the roof portion of the project. The tender will end on December 7, and contract approval is expected to return to the board in late January or early February. A construction schedule cannot be determined until the four to six month design phase is over, he said.

The chosen company will assess both Marquess’ recommendation to replace the roof and trusses entirely and the ad hoc committee’s recommendation to install the internal moment frame, and may submit its own alternative, he said.

Acting city manager Gary Milliman said Pioneer Hall may be occupied earlier than its neighboring building.

“We believe that Pioneer Hall could be safely reopened and could be occupied while the necessary repairs to this structure can proceed,” said Milliman.

Fleury said the Parks and Recreation Department determines based on COVID-19 restrictions when the Pioneer log cabin can be opened.

The engineering will take a few months after a contract is awarded in early 2022 and minor structural repairs based on the recommendations of the ad hoc committee are not expected to have a significant impact on the rental use of the facility, a he declared.

Among the fixes needed, the movement of logs around a window cut in the original cabin in the 1980s needs to be reinforced to prevent further movement of the logs, according to the ad hoc committee.

A proposal from Ashland resident Allan Sandler is also on the table for consideration by the council, which presented a development concept for the community center that combines early childhood education, production and course offerings. children’s theater and community events consistent with current uses of the facilities, according to council documents.

Under the proposal, the city would lease the building for 20 years to Sandler’s team, who would repair the community center at their expense, including cleaning up behind the building and installing a retaining wall, a Full building code level with sprinklers and seismic protection modernization and maintenance of historic significance through consultations with the Ashland Historical Commission.

“Once the upgrade is complete, Mr. Sandler and his team operate the building for the remainder of the lease,” according to a preliminary proposal in council documents.

Councilor Paula Hyatt said, based on her conversation with Sandler, that repairs to the building under her proposal would cost around $ 750,000.

“By offering the funds to repair the building, he would then fix the cost of that programming so as to recoup the cost of repairing the building,” Hyatt said, adding that Sandler had indicated his goal was to “marry” the community . needs through a public-private partnership.

“The idea of ​​people having graduation parties, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, wedding ceremonies, can do that, for me I’m just a little reluctant to lock ourselves in and outsource this ruling, if you will, at a party we can’t control, ”Councilor Shaun Moran said.

Discussions on the work of the community center and the pioneer pavilion are expected to continue at the next city council meeting on December 7.

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