It’s a no-brainer to approve whatever steps are needed to address water and humidity problems at a recreation center that will feature eight wooden gymnasium floors.
That’s what Lawrence city commissioners did Tuesday night but not without some discussion about whether the builders and designers of the new recreation center at Rock Chalk Park should share in the additional $48,000 cost to install additional concrete and flashing to address the problem. Commissioners were right to wonder whether flaws in the design or construction of the building might have contributed to the water problems and to ask city staff members to discuss that issue with the architects and builders.
The cost of the project obviously remains a concern for many taxpayers, but the top priority at this point is to make sure the new recreation center meets every building code and quality standard and is turned over to the city in top-notch condition. Problems arise in almost every construction project, and city officials have been assured that the additional concrete and flashing will correct the current water issues.
Taxpayers and city officials can only hope that is the case and that the leaking and humidity aren’t the first in a continuing litany of issues that require remediation at the recreation center. To their credit, commissioners are being vigilant and open about any problems that arise in a project that has stirred considerable community controversy.
That’s only smart. Commissioners know that much of the criticism of the way the Rock Chalk Park project was pursued and approved likely will melt away if the new recreation center proves to be a strong draw for community people as well as regional sports tournaments. If, however, the center is plagued by physical problems that hamper its operation, that criticism no doubt will continue and strengthen.
The opening of the center that will be known as “Sports Pavilion Lawrence” is only weeks away. Hopefully it will prove to be a high-quality and much-used addition to the community.