The collapse of the frame of Moosomin’s new Leisure Centre in high winds Wednesday will not stop the project.
Moosomin recreation director Mike Schwean said the collapse could set the project back by anywhere from six to 10 weeks.
“It will set us back about 6-8 weeks, with Christmas maybe 10 weeks,” he said.
“Having said that our target date to open is October of 2016. We had a lot of cushion time so I see no issue being open by that date.”
Schwean is looking into whether the town’s insuruance will cover the extra construction costs brought about by the collapse.
“I do not have an answer for this right now,” he said. “Regardless, we are not at our total required fundraising total, so even had the structure not blown down, future fundraising was always in the big plan.
“The town approved the project but not any portion of the funding. As such, this was a massive undertaking for the Parks and Rec Department in a relatively short window of time.
“We have accomplished a tremendous amount thus far but 2016 was always going to be the big fundraising push for us.”
From the start, the plan has been for the leisure centre to be built with no public funding. Fundraising and donations from businesses are covering the costs of the building. The largest contribution has been a quarter million dollar commitment from PotashCorp.
The leisure centre will include three sports simulators including 10 different sports, two driving nets, an indoor rubber walking track, and a court area.
The 6,000-square-foot building would normally be built at a cost of $1.2 million, but with much of the labor and inputs donated or provided at cost, the project manager donating his time, and the town providing the land, the cash cost of the building will be around $600,000 to $700,000.
The intention has always been to pay for the facility without using any taxpayer dollars.
Part of the reason the building can be built fairly inexpensively is that it won’t require plumbing. The building will be added to the south of the bowling alley, and will be entered through the bowling alley, with the idea that one employee can watch over the bowling alley and leisure centre, and the existing plumbing in the bowling alley will be used for washroom and kitchen facilities.
As well, Dale Nixon is contributing his time as project manager, helping keep costs in line.
The front of the leisure centre will be in line with the east side of the bowling alley. At the back, a large deck will be built bordering the leisure centre on the east, the bowling alley on the north, and the ball diamond on the west.
“We’ll have the deck facing the ball diamond, and for summer, it should be a good place for barbecues,” said Schwean.
Schwean said he hopes the leisure centre will fill a gap in town recreation programming, allowing more programs aimed at some of the newcomers to town who may not be into hockey.
“We get so many new people to town, and there are no programs we’re able to offer a lot of these people,” he said. “This facility will offer these people something to do when we have seven months of winter.”
Schwean said he was impressed with the way businesses and individuals have come forward to support the project. He said the PotashCorp donation was important in moving the project forward. “I thought it would be substantial, but I didn’t realize it would be this much,” he said. “They were pretty supportive every time we talked to them.
“I think it was something they’re interested in because it’s something everyone will be able to use. I think they agreed with a lot of the things we’re trying to do.”
The plan for the leisure centre has evolved during the planning process. “We’ve done a lot of work with a lot of different people,” Schwean said. “A lot of people have committed cash donations or time donations. Everyone we’ve talked to has contributed something.”
Several fundraisers have been held for the new facility, including the Elite Hockey Weekend last year, and two crop projects.
Schwean is happy with how well the project has moved along already, and he’s hoping more donations come in over the next few months so he can break ground on the project in the spring and open the leisure centre next winter.
“It was just the right time for something like this in Moosomin,” he said. “Everyone’s been very supportive, everyone thinks it’s a good idea, and now with this donation we’re well on the way.”
The idea for the leisure centre came up after the town took possession of the bowling alley last year from the committee that built it.