Davidson Centre addition hits snag


By Barb McKay


Structural problems with the Davidson Centre arena will likely bump up the cost of building the new addition, according to Kincardine’s CAO.


A recent survey of the building by a structural engineer revealed a disheartening surprise. The east foundation of the arena does not have the load-bearing capacity to hold up the new addition, which includes a gymnasium, change rooms and a viewing area overlooking the arena.


“When they excavated down and measured the foundation that supports the bearing capacity for the east wall they determined that it doesn’t have bearing capacity and they will present a new design,” said John deRossenroll.


An architect from Strasman Architects of Toronto, hired to design the new addition, went back to the drawing board to come up with a new sketch. That design has been sent to Henderson Builders Ltd, to determine what the new cost will be. The municipality hopes to have a report ready for Wednesday’s planning and corporate services meeting. At the same time the architect will recommend to council how much money it should keep in its contingency fund – a reserve fund that holds a small percentage of money for unexpected developments, such as this. The fund currently contains roughly $10,000.


“With a new design comes a new price tag,” said deRossenroll, “and it is considered a major change order.”


Mike O’Hagan, site superintendent for Henderson Builders Ltd., said Thursday that he had seen the new drawings but hadn’t yet determined what the new cost would be. But with the team working from a new design, the project will take considerably longer to complete.


“It’s going to be substantially more work to put it together,” he said. “We’re all worried about the weather. If we have a nice fall we can get a lot of work done.”


The construction team will now need to excavate the site, replace materials that have to be taken out and pour new footings. O’Hagan said that because space is being added to the existing building there was really no way of knowing that the foundation had issues. Soil sampling and other testing that is required for construction on a new building does not apply to the construction of an addition.


“The only thing that could have prevented this is if we had put in a stand alone building,” O’Hagan said. “As soon as you tie into an existing building it’s like a glorified renovation. As soon as you add on to a building things can change rapidly. There are always unknowns.


“There’s nobody to point fingers at, it’s just one of those things in this industry. Now it’s up to us to push it forward and get it done.”


Derrick Burrows, of the Davidson Centre Revitalization Committee, said there is a lot of finger pointing when problems arise, but he believes that this issue isn’t as big as it sounds.


“I don’t think it’s a big issue, and from what I understand there are a couple of ways they can go about it,” he said. “I’ve heard it could cost $100,000, I’ve heard $200,000 and I’ve heard it’s between those numbers.”


Burrows hopes that fundraising efforts will help to get the project back on track and he is urging local businesses and the community to get involved.


When asked if the problem with the foundation should have been found earlier, deRossenroll said the architects had the survey in their program and the plan was to examine the east wall once it was exposed.


He noted that the architectural firm would provide more details at the Sept. 8 council meeting.