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While Development Staggers Nationwide, City's Indoor Rec Complex Progressing with Major Phase to Start

May 10, 2020
While a lot of the economy has ground to a halt since March because of COVID-19, one major project in Bridgeport is running full steam ahead after a brief delay due to the pandemic. City Engineer Beth Fox said the Bridgeport Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex is pretty much “on schedule” with work picking up.
 
Not only is working picking up, but individuals who travel the roadway leading to the entrance to the facility – Route 131 – will likely see a substantial number of construction-related trucks on that road next week. The vehicles in question will be concrete trucks.
 
“We are preparing for a concrete pour for the bottom of the pool (this) week, which I believe is the competition pool,” said Fox. “That’s the first big thing happening in the pool area.”
 
Fox said there will be 300 cubic yards of concrete poured. That, she said, is a full day of trucks coming in and out of the complex one after another pumping the concrete into the pool as part of the $38 million buildout. As many as five trucks per hour could be coming in an out of the facility.
 
The pouring is only for the competition pool. The warmup pool that’s part of the project will be poured at a yet to be determined date. The concrete work is not the only thing taking place.
 
“We’re focusing on the roofing system and getting things under roof. The workers are also pouring the footers for the steel building that’s part of the indoor turf facility,” said Fox.
 
The building in question that will house the turf is a prefabricated metal structure. The turf will be used for indoor football, soccer, and various other recreational activities.
 
Infrastructure work, particularly that involving water and sewage, is also progressing. Fox said repairs to walls that are up, primarily as far as aesthetics, are being addressed now.
 
“All the walls are up with exception of the walls in the pool area. Walls in the pool area won’t be put into place until after the bleachers are set,” said Fox.
 
Fox pointed out that the interior walls for the facility have not been put in place. That will prove to be another lengthy procedure.
“It’s progressing and, I don’t want to jinx things, I can say it’s on schedule. There’s been very little disruption with the progress, and the contractors and subcontractors have been good to work with,” said Fox.
 
A.M. Higley out of Pittsburgh is the prime contractor on the project. Along with dealing with Fox on a regular basis, Fred Burton is there daily as the city’s special projects manager. City code enforcement official Mike Osborn also is there daily in the afternoons, said Fox. Their presence has helped keep communication and the project running smoothly, city officials said at a recent City Council meeting.
 
To date, the only hiccups have involved the shutdown of the project for a short period of time due to the Coronavirus and the discovery of a coal seam underneath what is the pool area. The contractor has long since been back to work, and funding was approved, and work has been completed to deal with the coal issue.
 
“The (Coronavirus) was an anomaly no one knew about when this started. Even with that, we’re pleasantly surprised we’ve not faced any other setbacks and too many extra costs at this point,” said Fox. “Now that we’re out of the ground with the facility we expect for the cost to remain constant.”
 
As for the opening, Fox and city officials have still been pointing to a late spring 2021 date. Currently, Fox said the city has been working internally to staff the facility, including the upper management positions. Along with running the daily operations, those hired will be looking at bringing in events to host at the facility.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows where concrete will be poured for the competition pool, while exterior wall work is shown in the second photo. Below, contract workers gather to work on the roof of the facility.