The Gilbert Town Council will be asked Tuesday for the seventh time to approve unexpected cost increases for Freestone Recreation Center that now total nearly $500,000.
The latest proposed change is for $2,236 to improve the steam room by installing contrasting color tile and adding a furring channel to limit wall moisture. If approved, this will bring the total additional cost to $499,382 and the facility's overall cost to $6.8 million. Other cost increases went for changes to the floor of the rock-climbing wall, electrical outlets, security equipment and air-conditioning units. Gilbert parks and recreation director Maury Ahlman said he does not expect any more requests for change.
The Gilbert-operated recreation center was built with funds approved in a 1988 bond election.
The 50,000-square-foot facility that opened in November southeast of Guadalupe and Lindsay roads features the 42-foot climbing wall, a weight room, basketball courts, an indoor running track, a game room and a day care center.
In addition to the unexpected costs paid by the town, the center has been plagued by construction problems that have been financially covered by a warranty. This includes fixing a leaking roof and windows, correcting the slope of a concrete exit slab on the building's west side, redoing the front counter and correcting the slope of the steam room floor, according to town documents.
Roof leaks above the rock-climbing wall were reported during the facility's first month of operation. The ceiling was rebuilt, but water buckets were placed on the basketball courts and in the weight room during subsequent rain. The contractor was forced to return "multiple" times to fix the leaks, but the problem is apparently solved, Ahlman said.
Freestone recreation programmer Crystal Whittaker said Friday afternoon there were no leaks after a morning rain.
Construction has closed the steam room since late August. The facility is expected to reopen next week, Ahlman said. "There has been frustration in the town and, more importantly, by our customers," Ahlman said. "We're looking forward to having that back up in operation."
Howard S. Wright Construction Co., which built the center, did not return a phone call seeking comment.