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Wet weather delays bathroom project; temporary trailers on way

(April 12, 2013) Despite considerable debate this time last year over its design and utility, the city’s anxiety over the new combination bathroom-and-stage at Caroline Street appears to be a moot point.

Instead of being greeted by a permanent structure of any architectural variety, Boardwalk patrons in need of bodily relief will, at least for the early part of the season, be directed to trailers.

“The weather in March killed us,” City Engineer Terry McGean said this week in regard to progress on the new facility’s construction. “I’m not sure when the new completion date will be. We’re waiting on a revised schedule from the contractor.”

Because of the wet spring, McGean said, the sandy ground on which the facility is to be located did not dry out until last week. The city’s contractor was thus unable to pour the concrete slab on which the structure is to be built.

“It’s been really tough going because of the damp,” he said. Now that the slab is poured, the rest of the structure should go up pretty quick, but will likely not be done before June crowds hit the boards.

As a temporary solution, McGean plans to have trailer-mounted restroom facilities brought in and placed on the concrete pad behind the Boardwalk’s information booths.

“They should be up and running by the end of the month,” he said.

City Public Works Director Hal Adkins said the units would likely be of the same type as those the city rents for festivals, such as Springfest and Sunfest.

Earlier this year, City Hall saw much discussion of what exactly the new facility should entail. The final design, by McGean and architect David Quillin, features a central stage area that will allow beach-facing shows and concerts. The performance area 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 new facility replaces the decades-old concrete block bathhouse at Caroline Street. The cost of the project is approximately $950,000.

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