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Gym construction snafu to impact RCS sports

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Construction on the RCS campus athletic fields. The softball field is not expected to be ready in time for the spring season, which begins in April.
August 14, 2018 12:29 pm

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — A snafu in construction of the new gymnasium at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School has put a glitch in the multi-year capital project.

The dimensions of the striping on the gym’s court were done incorrectly, and it is expected to cause a delay that will impact teams that play on the court.

Ed Anker from CSArch was at the RCS Board of Education meeting last Tuesday to give an update on the construction project, but started out by saying he wanted to address “the elephant in the room” — the court’s striping at RCS High School.

“At CSArch, we are responsible for the layout of that space,” Anker began. “Unfortunately, the courts were striped at about 10 feet too short than what they were originally designed to be.”

Representatives from CSArch met with the architectural team and with RCS Athletics Director Robert Dorrance as well as district administrators “to come up with a plan for how we are going to address and fix that,” Anker said.

CSArch walked the gym and laser scanned the entire gym space to determine the precise proportions. The problem can be fixed, Anker said.

“We determined that the 84-foot court length can be achieved with the proper run-outs in front of the bleachers at each end, so those courts can be increased in size to 84 feet from the current 74 feet, 4 inches, which is where they are right now,” Anker said. “So thankfully we can fix the problem, and that is CSArch’s responsibility.”

The width of the court, at 44.5 feet, is fine, but the length will have to be adjusted “to make it appropriate for tournament play,” Anker told the board of education.

However the next issue is the timing of the repair.

Anker spoke with the local company that does the floor striping, but they cannot take on the project before the start of school. A second contractor, who takes care of the overhead backstops and other equipment, is willing to move his schedule around to accommodate the start of school, “but if we can’t do both, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Anker said.

Looking ahead, Anker said there are three possible options to restripe the court — over winter break in February, during the April spring break, or waiting until the summer of 2019. Doing the project over the December break would not work because it would interfere with basketball season.

The repair is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

Anker added that he wants to meet with the school district’s facilities committee “before we go forward and restripe the layout to make it appropriate for play.”

In the meantime, Anker said the placement of the basketball hoops — whether they are up or down — can be adjusted to enable spectators at volleyball games to get an unobstructed view of the volleyball court.

“It’s a pretty unfortunate situation,” Anker said. “We endeavor to make sure there aren’t unfortunate situations. I will say that we have never had a perfect construction project go through.”

He added that CSArch worked alongside Turner Construction to try to predict problems and discrepancies, but “this is on us.”

In response to a board member who asked if there was a way to have “an extra set of eyes” on the project to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again, especially making sure the school’s athletics director is involved in the process, Anker said, “We are more than happy to accommodate that. We welcome an extra set of eyes.”

Softball field

Next, Rob Stewart from Turner Construction Company gave an update on the overall construction project for the RCS school district.

“The multi-purpose building is identified as being complete in August. We are on track for that,” Stewart told the board. “We have got several inspections and regulatory hurdles we have to get through first before that is done, but that is well on the way.”

However another challenge has cropped up — completing the high school’s softball field.

“The main challenge we are dealing with now is irrigation and getting water to the fields,” Stewart said.

Water is needed for maintenance and to make sure newly installed sod is able to grow grass.

Stewart said they are working with the design team to implement a permanent solution to the water problem, and that the field is forecast to be complete by October and ready for play in June of next year.

But board of education vice president Teddy Reville said that creates problems of its own.

“If those fields aren’t ready for April, then we don’t need them until [next] September,” Reville said. “That will be a second softball season without fields.”

The soccer teams will also not be able to play on the field this fall.

An alternative field for the softball team has problems of its own.

“We will have to try to play softball at Pieter B. [Coeymans Elementary School], which we couldn’t do last year either because of the field, or will we have a cost to rent fields from the town of Bethlehem again?” Reville asked.

District Superintendent Dr. Brian Bailey said there is a remediation plan in place that should make play possible at Pieter B. The issue there is drainage of stormwater, but that problem appears to have been resolved, Bailey said.

“There is little doubt that will be a playable field in the spring,” Bailey said.

Stewart later noted that the original contractor who installed the Pieter B. field will come back to fix the situation.

“The contractor is coming back and he will do a re-grading of that infield to make sure that the proper pitch is there on the field itself,” Stewart said.

In other construction news, at the high school the music and chorale suite is set to be completed in November of this year, which is an updated timeframe.

“These are the spaces where we had to go through some significant design shifts because of the asbestos that was found underneath the floor that required abatement,” Stewart said.

That asbestos abatement has been completed and construction has resumed.

In the high school lobby, the ceiling and floor is being finished, which should be complete by the first day of school. For work that is expected to be ongoing when school resumes, they plan to install a drywall partition that will separate construction from the school’s public areas, according to Stewart.

Other areas slated to be complete by the start of school include the high school band and drama storage areas. Some sections of the middle school, such as the cafeteria, are expected to be finished by the end of October.

While the sidewalk and landscaping should be completed, work will still be going on at the building’s canopy, with work being done after school hours, Stewart said, while a safe entryway will be available for use during the school day.