An Immense Natatorium Sequencing Challenge

Pinkard Construction Company won the Moorhead Recreation Center project through a competitive bid process. Scope of work included demolishing the 40-year-old existing recreation center, constructing a new recreation center in its place, and renovating the outdoor lap pool. Because Pinkard’s bid was better than a million dollars under the City of Aurora’s budget, the City immediately added scope to include a full natatorium with leisure and lap pools.

Because of the existing lap pool, Pinkard would have to find a way to build the natatorium structure above it, protect it during construction, and find a creative way to build the leisure pool immediately adjacent to it. In conventional natatorium construction, all the overhead work (electrical, ductwork, acoustical clouds, paint/ protective coatings) is completed before pool excavation. This process allows for a more efficient workflow and eliminates the risk of damaging the pool. Plus, Pinkard had to find a way to apply the hazardous epoxy coatings to the entire interior at the same time. In effect, a sequencing nightmare, expected to be completed in under seven months.

Creative Natatorium Sequencing Solutions

The solution was to divide the natatorium lengthwise, separating it with an impermeable plastic barrier similar to that used in asbestos abatement. With the natatorium divided in two, pool crews could have their half to themselves, while in the other half, ceiling/overhead work could be conducted in complete isolation.

Additional Manpower to Enhance the Creative Natatorium Sequencing Solutions

During this time, Associated Pool Builders and Pinkard were able to free up additional manpower for the natatorium construction effort, enabling the pool- portion of the work to be completed five weeks ahead of the originally allotted time.

A Key Critical Path Challenge

Because water and chlorine are incredibly corrosive, protective epoxy coatings are one of the most important components in pool construction. Because epoxy coatings are hazardous materials, they must be applied in a completely closed environment under strictly controlled climate conditions. To achieve a completely closed environment with strict climate conditions, the building must be dried in. Unfortunately, the 30-foot by 50-foot translucent skin panels necessary to dry in the building were late, and the skin subcontractor was understaffed. How do you create a climate-controlled environment when you have huge gaping holes across the face of your structure in the dead of winter? The only solution was loads of plywood, various portable heating systems, and large sheets of plastic to cover the translucent panel openings. This worked well in the gymnasium, but in the natatorium, the huge sheets acted as giant sails, catching the wind and blowing off.


Superintendent Eric Young: “Gusts of wind would blow through the pool area and drop temperatures below the 55 degrees that were needed for the coatings. So it was a lot of setting up heaters, re-setting up heaters, setting plastic, re-setting plastic, and praying that the wind would stop.”



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