Torrential downpour floods USU games room, student recreation center not affected

Correction: The USU is a separate entity from the university and has its own custodial services. PPM was never called to do clean up in the Games Room.

The new recreation center project is running on schedule and under budget despite soppy floors caused by last weekend’s torrential rains.

Other areas in the USU have not fared as well. About one inch of rain covered the floor of the games room, located under the current fitness center, after one of two pumps failed over the weekend, said Associate Executive Director Jason Wang.  These pumps are used to drain water out of the stairwell and away from the basement venue, which has hosted open mic comedy shows and ping pong tournaments.

“A shortage occurred in one of the drains because there was such a huge volume of rain,” Wang said.  “It’s the first time something like this has happened.”

Wang added that no permanent damage was incurred and he does not expect mildew to form in the space, the floor of which is lined in both tile and carpet. The games room closed Monday but Wang said it should re-open Tuesday.

Wang said no monetary costs were incurred, but labor costs resulted from the flooding.

Across the sidewalk at the construction site for the new recreation center, the water proved less of a problem due to preventative measures and a nearly-completed roof.

Sandbags gathered water into manageable pools that were drained away from the site Monday morning.

“It’s not very hi-tech, but it’s effective,” Wang said.

He added the roof was about “95 percent done,” protecting most of the site from the 5.92 inches of rain that drenched Northridge.

Executive Director Debra Hammond, who is also project overseer, said the complex is scheduled to open in January 2012 and so far there is no indication that the date will move.

“It’s phenomenal, we’re on schedule and have money left over, despite the rain,” she said.

USU’s new recreation center will create 150 new employment positions for students and six administrative seats, one of which, the complex’s director, has been filled by Aida Johnson in February.

Hammond said recruitment for student employees will begin at the end of this semester and continue late into the fall term.

In addition to monetary sources for students, the new facility will include skylights that reduce electricity bills, waterless urinals and paperless hand driers that cut down on resources consumed.  Hammond said she was not able to quantify savings because the facility has yet to be operated but they are looking to achieve Leed Certification, or recognition of sustainability, for their efforts.

Many of these same energy-saving amenities were used in the Valley Performing Arts Center by contractor CW Driver, who is also at the helm of the $60 million recreation project.

“(The contractors) have been a part of the process from the beginning,” Hammond said.

Hammond, who has worked on several projects of a similar caliber, said the method used to create the recreation center is better than most she has worked with.

“It’s called Construction Management at Risk,” she said.  “We’ve been working with the contractor and the architect from the start.”

Hammond said this approach required less corrections to project plans and does not result in as much miscommunications among key players.