March 23, 2018
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Rockland recreation renovations roar on

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Rockland Recreation Director Rene Dorr said the major renovations that have been ongoing at the 77-year-old structure will leave it bone dry.

And he said the work will come in under budget.

“I’ve been chasing down leaks for eight years,” Dorr said about problems in the building that was constructed in 1935 as part of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

And the recreation director said that while making repairs to the building, contractors have found many issues with the original construction.

“They will find something and say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before,’” Dorr said.

The city spent $661,000 on renovations in 2009 and 2010 that resulted in the center being closed for eight months. That work consisted of installation of a new gym floor, new retractable bleachers, new locker rooms constructed in the space previously occupied by a racquetball court, installation of a sprinkler system, a new boiler and replacement of an underground oil tank.

After that work was done, the city received a report from engineers and architects that called for additional work on the structure to prevent leaking that was creating mold and air quality problems.

In November 2011, voters supported borrowing up to an additional $675,000 for such work. The vote was 1,107 to 656 in support of borrowing money for the recreation facility repairs at the same time that voters rejected money for a new public works garage.

This year, the work has been broken down into two phases, Dorr said. The first, which has been completed, resulted in the repointing of all the exterior bricks and work along the edges of the roof to prevent leaking.

He said water used to pour in through the upper level space used by the Rockland District Nursing Association and then pour down to the basement level where the youth game room is located.

There have been several heavy rainstorms since that work was completed and it has been bone dry, Dorr said.

The second and current phase of work includes digging a trench around the exterior of the building to apply sealant to the foundation and to install proper drainage to prevent water intrusion from the lower level.

The game room has been torn up and will receive a new slab and then a new wooden floor which he said should stop moisture from coming into that section of the building.

The entrance to the building also is set to be renovated to include a handicapped accessible sidewalk with railing from the parking lot, a new slab in the front to be even with steps.

“This work will meet both the ADA requirements and be an improvement aesthetically,” Dorr said.

The work should be done by the middle of December, he said.

During a separate sewer replacement project in June, several residents had complained to city officials about the difficulty in getting to the recreation center to vote in the Primary Election. Dorr said the current work will not interfere with voting on Nov. 6.

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