The scheduled opening of the Rec Cen expansion has been pushed back until Spring Quarter because of a building materials shortage and several other outside factors, university officials said.
Wayne Horodowich, Rec Cen building director, said the closure of the 101 Freeway in January due of heavy rains contributed to the postponement. An industry-wide shortage of metal studs and the late delivery of custom-made products, such as windows, also contributed to the delayed opening. Despite the setbacks, Horodowich said the $16.9 million project, which was originally set to open in October 2004, is still within budget.
“It is not incompetence, but difficulty in getting materials which throws the schedule off and has a domino effect,” he said.
Such shortages also make it difficult to coordinate building projects with subcontractors, Horodwich said. Subcontractors are responsible for specific jobs like window installation and tile layout, while Viola Construction, Inc. – the company the university contracted in 2000 – is responsible for the overall construction process. The failure of a materials provider to supply goods throws off the scheduled sequence of projects that contractors and subcontractors have organized, Horodowich said
But the delay will not affect the quality of the structure, said Scott Odin, an employee of Sasaki Associates, Inc., the company that designed the expansion. He said maintaining quality of the building and keeping within the budget were the two most important considerations during construction.
“We want to make things correct,” Odin said. “I think everyone involved in the construction wants to make a building that the university and the students expect.”
Once completed the addition – located next to the current Rec Cen along Mesa Road – will include new weight and cardio machines, a fenced-in jogging path, a climbing wall, a kiln for pottery-making, classrooms, offices and more locker space. The expansion will also have an indoor multipurpose tiled rink for volleyball, roller hockey and other sports.
The UCSB intramural roller hockey team, however, is disappointed about the delay because the team hoped to use the roller rink for their practice and games, said Jonathan Tu, president of the hockey team and chair of the Rec Cen Governance Board. Tu, a fourth-year English major, said the team began its season in October – when the expansion was scheduled to open – and will be finished in March. The team has never had a roller rink on campus and currently practices at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, he said.
“We were originally told [it would be open] possibly by November,” Tu said. “But then they scaled it back to December and when December rolled around, we were told January.”