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Sunnyside Community Center opening delayed until spring

The Sunnyside Community Center won't open at the end of January as scheduled, reported Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Director Tom Byers to the Sunnyside City Council Monday night.

Due to a number of different factors, Byers said, the community center will now open in mid-March or the beginning of April. But despite the delays, the City of Sunnyside will have one top notch facility at South Hill Park, the parks director exclaimed.

Byers was before the Council last night to ask for approval on the purchase of a new gym floor for the community center. He also provided the Council with an update on the progress of the community center.

The original estimate on the cost of building the 9,970 square-foot community center was slightly more than $1 million. The city obtained a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant and added an additional $338,732 to help fund the construction of the project.

The city received two bids for the community center gym floor. The low bid of $35,430 came from Northern Hardwoods of Deer Park. The other bid was for $39,976 from a firm in Spokane.

Byers said the Northern Hardwoods' bid, which Council approved, is $7,610 less than the architect's estimate, which was $43,040.

The new gym floor, which Council unanimously approved purchasing, will be comparable to the floor of the gym at Washington Elementary School, said Byers. The floor was made in Italy and is waiting to be shipped from France to Sunnyside.

"The floor we are putting in is a quality floor," said Byers. "We have got a better floor than we were looking at."

Byers said the way the floor is constructed it will roll out so no seams will be seen on the surface.

After the Council approval of the new floor, Byers dove into some of the reasons as to why the community center won't open at the end of January as anticipated.

Using four separate contractors led to some delays with the project, said Byers. There were also some issues with the delivery of the community center's heating system. The unit was supposed to be delivered Nov. 15, but wasn't shipped until Dec. 8. When the unit was taken apart to get it into the building, it was found that a bottom piece was damaged. Byers said also because of the cold weather, the gym is unable to be painted. There are also some issues surrounding the scoreboard, which will be in the gym. The scoreboard won't be delivered from South Dakota until Jan. 25. The scoreboard also has to be installed before the gym floor is installed.

Byers said the bleachers in the gym will also be one of the final pieces to the community center.

Just last week and again on Monday morning, the community center had problems with frozen pipes and the gutters. Byers praised Ken Bierlink of Bierlink Construction, which is one of the contractors working on the community center, for his response in dealing with the frozen pipes.

Byers did have some good news for the Council. He said the city will be saving a considerable amount of money on the community center. With the center about 98 percent complete, Byers estimated that the building will cost $74 per square foot. The original cost per square foot estimate was $100. Byers said $10,000 was saved on the purchase of the gym floor and bleachers. An additional $1,200 was saved in the purchasing of appliances. Byers purchased the appliances at the Sunnyside Sears store instead of going to Seattle. Finally, Byers put back another $1,300 in the coffers on savings from the purchase of a dishwasher, which he bought in Yakima.

Byers is expecting to have a surplus of $50-$65,000 by the time the center is complete.

By the time the center is finished, Byers said he is hoping to have a state-of-the-art security system in place to help curb the rash of vandalism which has been happening to the center.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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