Archive for Thursday, November 6, 2014

City monitoring concrete cracking at Rock Chalk Park recreation center

A series of cracks are developing in the concrete mezzanine that overlooks the gymnasiums and turf field at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.

A series of cracks are developing in the concrete mezzanine that overlooks the gymnasiums and turf field at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.

November 6, 2014


There is a bit more than scores of basketball, volleyball and soccer games to keep an eye on at the city’s new recreation center at Rock Chalk Park. City officials and architects also are keeping an eye on some cracking concrete in the 181,000-square-foot building.

Both architects and city officials said the building isn’t suffering any structural problems, but a series of cracks have developed in the concrete mezzanine that overlooks the gymnasiums and turf field at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.

“We’re aware of them, and basically we’re monitoring them and seeing where they go,” said Mark Hecker, the city’s assistant director of parks and recreation.

One of the cracks in concrete at the newly constructed Sports Pavilion Lawrence is shown next to a dime, for scale.

One of the cracks in concrete at the newly constructed Sports Pavilion Lawrence is shown next to a dime, for scale.

Hecker said the cracks aren’t causing problems at the moment, but the city wants to ensure the cracks don’t widen, or that concrete doesn’t begin to chip off along the edges of the cracks. He said in addition to being unsightly, such problems could create tripping hazards in the highly travelled area of the building.

The Journal-World was alerted of the cracks by a frequent user of the facility, who said she was surprised to see so many cracks in the building after just six weeks of use by the public. There are upwards of 25 cracks in the mezzanine, with many of them running the width of the walkway.

Paul Werner, a Lawrence architect for the center, said members of the public should rest assured that the cracks aren’t cause for any safety concerns. In an email he said the cracks are “shrinkage cracks.” He said all concrete cracks, but often concrete jobs include cutting joints into the concrete to control where the cracking occurs. He said such cutting was planned on this project, but it did not happen because a “subcontractor did not realize this in time before the concrete fully hardened.”

Hecker said the concrete work is under warranty for a year. He said the city would closely monitor the cracks during that time period to determine whether to request a repair under the warranty.

Hecker said, though, that any repair work likely would be disruptive to recreation center operations. The repairs likely would involve cutting out sections of concrete and replacing it with new concrete or epoxy.

“We’re not overly concerned about the cracks as they are right now,” Hecker said. “If we see where the concrete starts chipping away, that’s when it will be a problem.”

Werner said he agrees with the city’s assessment.

Hecker said other issues the city has discovered since the building’s opening have been minor. Problems with water infiltration that were reported in July have been fixed, he said.

“I’m pretty pleased with the attentiveness of our contractor,” Hecker said of Lawrence-based Gene Fritzel Construction Co. “They have a crew hanging with us. If we need paint here, or there is a plumbing leak or a door that isn’t quite working right, they have someone on site that is taking care of that for us.”

City officials also continue to be very pleased with attendance at the center. League basketball play has begun at the center, and city officials have estimated crowds on Saturday morning number close to 2,000 people.


John Graham 3 years ago

A subcontractor doesn't know to put in concrete expansion joints? The managing contractor (Fritzel) apparently was not doing an adequate job of supervision. But what can one expect for $25M?

Bob Forer 3 years ago

The city construction engineer whose job is to make sure the project followed well accepted industry standards and contract specifications is also at fault.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years ago

Tell you what, I am not about to walk across that walkway. They are going to just watch the cracks and see what happens? That's a plan? Is this another experiment we are involved in, and like other rats in a maze we didn't need to be told about it?

Bob Smith 3 years ago

Leave us hope the city kept the receipt so they can get their money back.

Phil Minkin 3 years ago

And commissioner wonder why the police facility was defeated. Obviously one of the reasons is it appeared it would be rushed through just like RCP. Let's take our time, do a study and get it right.

Mike Riner 3 years ago

Now, everybody who is truly surprised at this development.....jump up and down repeatedly....

Greg DiVilbiss 3 years ago

Paul Werner is correct concrete cracks.

Bob Forer 3 years ago

But there is a way to avoid it, Greg. You've been invovled in real estate development, no? If you were the owner of this building and had paid millions, would you just ignore this, or demand that the problem be rectified?

John Graham 3 years ago

That is why expansion joints were planned, The subcontractor forgot to put those in and apparently the managing contractor (Fritzel) didn't do his job of supervision of the subcontractors. Both the subcontractor and the managing contractor should have been docked a portion of their payment for failure to follow the plans correctly. Both the subcontractor and managing contractor should be financially liable to correct the issue.

Richard Heckler 3 years ago

Where was a Frizel and two city building inspectors to keep an eye on the Fritzel assessments?

David Holroyd 3 years ago

This was a gift! Do not look a gift horse in the mouth.

Wait until the next teo years and read about the "library".... .

Bob Forer 3 years ago

"25 cracks in the mezzanine, with many of them running the width of the walkway."

A brand new building which cost the taypayers 25 million. This is completely and utterly UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!

And so is the city's milquetoast response!!! How 'bout the city assuring the taxpayers who are footing the bill that they expect Fritzel to rectify the problems at his cost.

Given the black history of this project, are any of us surprised?

And the City Commission can't figure out why the voters were less than enthused about their failed attempt to rush the police project through???????

Bob Forer 3 years ago

“I’m pretty pleased with the attentiveness of our contractor,” Hecker said of Lawrence-based Gene Fritzel Construction Co. “They have a crew hanging with us. If we need paint here, or there is a plumbing leak or a door that isn’t quite working right, they have someone on site that is taking care of that for us.”

This is a brand new building. There should be no need for "a crew hanging." Things like this should have been taken care of with a final punch list before the city accepted the building for occupancy.

Brad Hightower 3 years ago

Somebody fire Heckler for being a suck up. It won't fix the cracks but it will make us feel better. If poor quality and faulty workmanship is in plain-site just think about what we can't see.

Brad Hightower 3 years ago

Chad, its name is not Rock Chalk recreation center its Sports Pavilion Lawrence.

Bob Forer 3 years ago

Over 100 posts regarding the no Halloween party article, but a mere handful here. Come on, folks, show a little appropriate outrage. Such a response would be entirely fitting and proper. This is OUR money that is being pissed away.

Richard Ballard 3 years ago

What month of the year was that slab poured in

February at below zero? Or August at 95 ?


David Holroyd 3 years ago

Wonder what the vice mayor has to say?

Bob Forer 3 years ago

Why is it in life that when someone screws up royally, instead of offering a plan of action to solve the problem, the typical, garden variety response is "we are monitoring the situation."

Translation: "Sorry, folks,we screwed up. Not only are we not going to admit it, but we are too incompetent to offer any sort of reasonable solution."

Ned Wolfsosoon 3 years ago

Surely this is lightweight concrete on a steel deck, right?

Hugh Nelson 3 years ago

This City commission is a joke, bunch of good old boy's club founding members. Their main interest is catering to those who paid for their seats at the table and not the avg citizens of this community who can't afford to pay to get their way and large tax give away. In such a big hurry to hand out the no bid sweetheart of deal contract and hurry up and build this.... is it really any wonder that once again the tax payers of Lawrence Kansas get screwed over by one of the monied family's in town with political connections they bought and paid for. Oh wait it was a gift, yea the gift that keeps on giving to the pocket books of "bliss sports".

Jonathan Becker 3 years ago

Let's take a class of kindergartners out there, no, pre-schoolers, and have them jump up and down on the mezzanine. Then we will have a news story. The NY Post headline will be "Kids Kracked by Koncrete in Kansas."

When someone says, "We are monitoring the situation" don't you want to know what their plan is when something adverse happens?

Margaret Elberson 3 years ago

I'd like to be able to drive across town to see the cracks, but alas the road construction is making that impossible, next to even finding the place. Is it April yet, time to get out the V-O-T-E?

Bob Forer 3 years ago

If the City Commissioners who voted for this project were corporate executives for a privately owned company, they would have been fired long ago.

Michelle Reynolds 3 years ago

This is only one issue. There is still drainage issue ( water is getting under the building and because they didn't think a head they didn't extend the gutters under the concrete of the sidewalks to get the rain water away from the building. So the water just sitting next to the building and getting under the building. This problem made the city commission meeting and the commissioners are picking up the tab to fix the problem. IE not covered in the warranty. This has been months ago and it's still not fixed. A gentleman I spoke too on the job says they are hiing an outside company to fix it. Not the Fritzels. Hmmmm! Another issue is the walking trails were built to steep by the Fritzel company and they brought in a different company to tear them out and rebuild them. This is just what I saw in a brief walk. What else is wrong.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years ago

Thank you Michelle for your comment. Exactly what I am wondering. You found out more by simply walking around the building and asking questions than others have by talking to the contractions. I bet if Chad talked to the men who worked on the project he would have a different blog to write. I wonder if constructions workers are bound by a confidentially agreement not to reveal anything the do, see, or hear while on the job.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 3 years ago

When we built our home 28 years ago, our concrete contractor was professional enough to have slits cut in the driveway to control where the cracks occurred. I would think that this would be common practice almost 30 years later, but apparently not. This is shoddy work, and should be replaced forthwith, and have the slits cut in the concrete to control where the cracking occurs.

Brad Hightower 3 years ago

This building was to be our communities shot at attracting and hosting regional and national sporting events. First impressions are everything.

This probably rules out Penny's Ready Mix buying the naming rights.

Richard Heckler 3 years ago

The name Fritzel is tied to other can we say violations such as not following the rules or site plans. The Fritzel name had a $50,000 fine on the books has it been paid? I'd say this name Fritzel should not be a building contractor for any future tax dollar projects.

A building inspector with backbone needs to be assigned to all Fritzell construction sites 24/7. Bill the cost to Fritzel.

Where were the building inspectors? How many building inspectors does Lawrence have on the job? Obviously not enough. Are city officials turning blind eyes?

How did this project meet city codes?

I believe it is far more important to fix the shoddy construction over being concerned about activities that have been booked. Transfer the scheduled events to other sources the city owns in the interest of safety for the participants. To other buildings that were constructed to meet higher standards and last a lifetime.

Richard Heckler 3 years ago

“I’m pretty pleased with the attentiveness of our contractor,” Hecker said of Lawrence-based Gene Fritzel Construction Co. “They have a crew hanging with us. If we need paint here, or there is a plumbing leak or a door that isn’t quite working right, they have someone on site that is taking care of that for us.”

This is a reckless policy.

Where are the people in charge? What are their names and on what streets do they live. Taxpayers need to give someone or multiple someone's a piece of our minds.

Call in Harris Foundation Repair to do the job right. They know concrete and how to build it right. May well be the best in the business.

Wayne Kerr 3 years ago

I don't know a lot about concrete or building a multimillion dollar sports complex in a farm field, but I do know if it's build right it shouldn't be falling apart within a year of being built. I don't know a lot about building a sports complex and it looks like Fritzel doesn't know much about building one either.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years ago

And the city wants to spend millions on a police facility on Hallmark land. Geez, where do we get these idiots??

Bud Stagg 3 years ago

I bet if you poured a driveway for your home with no expansion joints or stress cuts, it would not pass code and they would make you rip it out and start over. Well????

Randall Uhrich 3 years ago

Keep moving, folks. Nothing to see here. No bid contracts!

Wayne Kerr 3 years ago

I guess this was to be expected from a builder who used AstroTurf for an apartment complex and who replaced a historic home with a replica and was allowed by the city to determine his own fine for his building violations. A note to the Lawrence city commission, it's time to stop catering to developers and time to start looking out for the interests of your citizens. We need you all to fix these problems for us and if mistakes were made to hold the builder accountable.

Mike Riner 3 years ago

With all the shoddy work/no bid sleazy under the table deals, smells of corruption...are we sure this is Lawrence, and not Chicago???

Brad Hightower 3 years ago

On the City's website today is shows that the rec center has not been issued final approvals. And the occupancy inspection was scheduled for 10-31-14.

Final Inspection Date: none Certificate of Completion Date: none Certificate of Occupancy Date: none

David Reynolds 3 years ago

I have been monitoring & photographing these cracks since the ribbon cutting of the Sports Pavillion. I was shocked the day of the ribbon cutting to find so many cracks in the walkway. The building is new but it looks like it is years old with all of the cracks in the exterior walls & walkway floor. There are some other cracks in the lower level floor as well.

There are small pieces/chunks of concrete that are lose in places in the walkway cracks. Deterioration is already starting.

It is plain as day to see the lack of supervision as the concrete right in the entry has the control joints placed properly with no cracking, & the concrete looks beautiful. Continue walking to the sign-in desk and you see the cracking in the walkway.

There are a large number of shrinkage cracks in the exterior of the wall panels, curbs, gaps between concrete interfaces, chunks of concrete missing in places in addition to the walkway floor.

Yes concrete does crack but there are a number of ways to control & mitigate the problem. The issues to mitigate these issues range from proper curing (controlling temperature & moisture content), mix design, percent water content, surface finishing & timing using best practices, control joints, steel placement, etc. Placing, curing & erecting the large amount of concrete required for the Sports Pavillion, requires much planning & supervision prior to, during & after concrete placement.

The question is where was the planning, supervision & inspection while the placement, initial curing & finishing were occurring? Were adverse conditions reported at the time so emergency actions could be taken to help remedy problems?

The problem is, these shrinkage cracks can continue to increase in size & quantity over the next several years. For the exterior cracks moisture & the climate can take a serious toll over time. A 1 year warranty for the problems we see occurring in such a short time for problems that will continue to occur over a longer time doesn't seem adequate.

Now who pays & when to remedy the situation?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years ago

It better be the developer who pays, and then he can collect the money from the contractor. The customers, KU and the city should pay nothing. Would you pay a contractor who poured a driveway for you and there were cracks?

Brad Hightower 3 years ago

Please take note of the wood basketball floor surface, if you look low across the room it appears to have buckled and rolled. It could be moisture under the wood or more concrete cracking causing this to happen.

Bob Forer 3 years ago

Hey, David, I just want to say thanks for looking out for all of us. Much appreciated. ,

Maggie Morrissey 3 years ago

I am commenting because Bob Forer made a valid point. We are, as we should be, outraged by this. The citizens of Lawrence should be angry and demanding better/more thurough explainations than it appears we are receiving.

This is not ok, answers/explanation and course of action given is not ok! As a tax payer, registered voter and one whom votes, it is not ok. What a mess!!!!!

Our houshold cannot wait until it is time to express the only way we know how at the dissatisfaction the job of City Manager and City Comissioners when election time rolls around again.

Mark Rainey 3 years ago

Clara Westphal 3 years ago

I wish all of the city commissioners were up for re-election. I would like to see all of them voted out. Surely, there must be people in our community with the common sense to do what is best for the citizens that could be voted in. . We need a commission who is in tune with what the people in Lawrence want.

This building apparently is a disaster.

David Holroyd 3 years ago

Just keep your eyes on the library!

Michelle Reynolds 3 years ago

Anyone should walk around the building at look at the exterior concrete panels. They are covered in cracks that have been poorly patched. No these should look like that do. On one panel I count 5 cracks. Also in some places the interior floor cracks are so bad hunks are coming up.

Ned Wolfsosoon 3 years ago

If the police tax got passed, was Compton going to get the build job since Fritzel got Rock Chalk Park? Who did the environmental engineering? Are there any solar panels to any of this stuff, including the library? Were there any food consultants hired regarding the concessions? Any former city leader involved in where the concrete came from? How many people involved in all of these projects, city officials, commissioners, contractors, real estate agents etc., went through Leadership Lawrence?

Brad Hightower 3 years ago

I thought everyone knew that Compton's company First Management built the recreation center under Fritzel supervision. It was a city forced compromise between the two so neither would bash the other publiclly.

Alana Winner 3 years ago

It just makes me sad. I hope the city is reimbursed by the contractor for all the repairs and time lost becuase of the cracks and it doesn't come out of the cities money for other things.

Justine Burton 3 years ago

I am not that familiar with construction, So could this be a possible disaster waiting to happen? like the one in KC at the Hyatt in 1981. Why don't they close the entire building and make the necessary repairs and inspections, by some independent third parties, I understand the bottom line is always money. However, if this problem is just monitored and not rectified and a disaster (God forbid) would occur. Then, how many local and national sporting event directors would (knowingly) endanger the lives of their athletes and fans, by bringing them to a facility with such shoddy workmanship. Then, money would be lost if most major sports organizations might shy away from this complex forever. WE (citizens and leaders of our community) all must know! word of mouth can be the most dangerous. So, I hope our commissioners and others involved in this project do the right thing.

Brad Hightower 3 years ago

The project would never have been finished by Fritzel if third party inspections were preformed. The city would of been forced to fire them and start over. The city had an independent engineering firm do inspections once and it was a total embarrassment. None of the work inspected that day passed.

Andy Anderson 3 years ago

I saw a crack at the Library. Who built it?

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