Pool construction poised to move into final phase

Pool cam view of the construction site on June 4, 2024

City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore, accompanied via Zoom by Griffin Structures President Jon Hughes and project manager George Sanen, delivered a pool construction status update to City Council at its June 3 meeting. The project’s completion date remains “early 2025” and is estimated at 70% complete right now, the city said, but approximately 45% of the remaining project activities are “critical path activities” — any delay in addressing those items could cause delays. Hughes said coordinating with PG&E to bring power to the site remains a major challenge.

Completed construction does not mean pool will open right away

Following completion of the construction phase, the city says there will be an unspecified period of testing and commissioning that will involve a lot of staff training on the new systems and also pool chemistry balancing, electrical, plumbing and mechanical test and balance, and final LEED certification.

“We are looking at our Mountain View neighbors — we learned about the phase following construction, what we are calling ‘commissioning'”, she said. Mountain View is the first all-electric pool in the country.

Hughes said they are applying lessons learned from the Mountain View project and that a key part of Piedmont’s pool will be training staff on a whole host of cutting edge systems. To get LEED certification is also a lengthy process, he said.

Hughes said construction could be completed in December, but that there are a whole host of other items related to testing and commissioning of the building before it can open to the public.

Unforeseen conditions could still add additional costs to the project

Apart from PG&E — “an unpredictable agency to work with” — the other challenges the construction team has confronted include the earlier discovery of underground fuel tanks and soil conditions testing related to the tanks, as well as the recent discovery of an underground spring that is running through the site.

Approximately 87% of the project’s contingency funds have been used to date, according to the city’s report. Moore gave the council a heads-up that it was likely additional funding would be needed in the final 30% stretch.

Hughes said that future budget adjustments might be needed to cover ongoing work related to the underground tanks, work needed to address the underground water filtering into the project from the spring, some PG&E costs, additional inspections, plus ongoing construction administration costs that they anticipate. Hughes said these costs will be better identified by the council’s next meeting on June 17.

In December 2023 the council approved taking $800,000 from the city’s Facilities Capital Fund and adding it to the approved pool project construction (“hard costs”) contingency budget of $24,291,550, bringing that budget to $25,091,550; and taking another $200,000 from that same fund and adding it to the “soft costs” (project management, architecture and design services, geotechnical services, site survey, environmental services, and other non-physical material expenditures) contingency budget, making for a new contingency budget total of $4,876,000. That makes the new overall project budget $29,967,550.

Since the last update on the progress of the pool project in March 2024, the following progress has been made:

• Retaining wall along Magnolia Avenue.
• Retaining wall along Recreation Building.
• Installation of building deck.
• Concrete slab for building roof.
• CMU walls within the pool building.
• Completed excavation of contaminated soils at buried fuel tank.
• Concrete at upper terrace.
• Started wall framing.
• Started mass excavation for competition swimming pool.
• Water proofing at Recreation Building.

Up next:
• Complete mass excavation for competition swimming pool.
• Installation of swimming pool concrete forms and rebar.
• Utilities for competition swimming pool.
• Complete sidewalk, curb, roadway storm drainage and roadway paving.
• Complete bioswale area.
• Complete building framing, insulation and drywall.
• Installation of building electrical conduit.

Pool pass and staffing update

Moore said the city was working with a consultant to identify key hires and to work out how a pool pass system would work. Piedmont Recreation Department Director Chelle Putzer told the council that the city was actively working to hire pool staff and had conducted panel interviews for a supervisor position that day. Currently those positions include a supervisor for the whole complex — someone with in-depth experience of operating all aspects of a pool — as well as an aquatics coordinator position. She said they were still defining what a facility operator position for this kind of state-of-the-art pool would be.

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