(June 7, 2013) Despite having been as backed-up as some of its future prospective users, the construction of the restroom and performance stage facility at Caroline Street is now on track to be finished by the end of the month.
“Right now they’re looking at the end of June for completion,” City Engineer Terry McGean said this week of the construction project on the Boardwalk.
Design plans for the project were approved by the city last year, but actual construction of the facility over the winter and spring was delayed due to wet weather impeding some concrete work.
“There’s a lot of concrete pouring, and it’s fairly complex,” McGean said. “There are several curved shapes, and the arch is designed to try to get kind of a wood-look to it.”
“It’s very labor intensive, and it’s a lot to do in a very small area, which is what makes it hardest of all,” he said. “They can only get so many guys in there.”
The contractor selected by the city for the project – Black Diamond Builders – has brought on additional help from construction firm D.W. Burt, which specializes in concrete work.
“It’s the same contractor as far as we’re concerned, but they have brought on D.W. Burt as a sub-contractor to expedite the concrete,” McGean said.
The facility was conceived roughly a year ago as a replacement for the decades-old concrete block bathhouse at Caroline Street, a structure often described by city staff as “bunker-like” due to its inset construction.
The city also wanted to create a public performing arts venue at the location. After much discussion by City Council, McGean and architect David Quillen were able to design a structure that features a central stage area as well as expanded restroom facilities.
The central platform will allow beach-facing shows and concerts, but will be flanked by two separate wings with expanded men’s and women’s bathrooms, and will feature low-cost, low-energy ventilation systems for heating and cooling. The cost of the project is approximately $950,000.
Until completion, the city has positioned trailer-mounted restroom facilities on the plaza behind the Boardwalk’s information booths. Although the units are a considerable step above the standard Port-a-Pottie, they are decidedly temporary.
“They’re obviously not the ideal situation, but probably the best solution we have going,” McGean said.
Public Works Director Hal Adkins said his staff have built reinforced wooden steps and ramps to replace the flimsy aluminum entrances that came with the trailers. Although the units can be hooked up to water and sewer lines, the position of the trailers means there isn’t enough slope to fully empty the holding tanks.
“We’re pumping them out on a daily basis, in the mornings,” Adkins said. “Its’ not ideal, but we’re surviving.”