Work heats up inside new PAC


Performing arts, football, track facilities

Photo Credit: HOLLY M. GILL - Paving around the Performing Arts Center has been completed and curbs installed, but workers are still installing sidewalks and entrances to the facility from Buff Street. The $7,980,000 Performing Arts Center will be completed and turned over to School District 509-J in mid-November. The Madras High School football field, track, concessions, grandstand and ticket booth will be ready before school starts on Sept. 8.The outside of the two-story Madras Performing Arts Center is nearly complete, but inside, activity has picked up, as workers pour concrete for risers in the auditorium, paint and wire for the fire alarm.

The nearly $8 million project is a key element of School District 509-J's $26.6 million bond, passed in May 2012. Besides the PAC, the bond is funding half the cost of construction of a kindergarten through eighth-grade school in Warm Springs ($10,736,300) and districtwide improvements for $7.9 million.

The PAC project is divided into two areas, the building itself and the surrounding facilities: concessions, ticket booth, parking area, track and football field, according to Julie Hyer, project manager for Skanska.

Photo Credit: HOLLY M. GILL - The track is completely finished, according to Julie Hyer, project manager."All of the second part will be turned over before school starts Sept. 8," she said.

The spacious concession stand is situated just south of the grandstand, on the west side of the football field, and the ticket booth is west of the concession stand, on the opposite side of the newly paved road that leads back to the baseball and softball fields. Both the concession stand and ticket booth are nearly complete.

Last week, the new press box was installed on the top of the grandstand, which will seat 1,200 people when all the metal benches are finished. On the opposite side of the football field, the new visitors' bleachers will seat 125.

Sod for the football field was laid in May, and is ready for football season. Both the football field and track are completely finished.

Work on the 34,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center portion of the project got underway in September 2013, and is expected to be done in mid-November. The cement block and structural steel building has a brick veneer and metal panel exterior, with a wall of windows on the south side.

Photo Credit: HOLLY M. GILL - The second-story looks over the PAC's entrance, and leads to the upper level auditorium seating.The two-story auditorium, which will seat 575 people, includes three catwalks to allow students or adults to control lights, or do other technical work during a production, as well as "balconettes," or small balconies, on each side of the stage for those working on lights or other elements of a theater production.

Over the past two weeks, crews have worked to excavate the auditorium area, and pour concrete risers in preparation for the seating.

"There are a lot of finishes to do: carpet, tile, painting, wood paneling," said Hyer. "It's going to be a beautiful facility once it's done."

Acoustic cloud panels on the ceiling will reflect sound, to make the auditorium suitable for theatrical and musical performances. "An acoustic engineer went through and designed all the space for sound absorption and reflection qualities," she said.

The main floor also includes boys' and girls' locker rooms and restrooms.

Among the other improvements currently taking place in the school district are the installation of a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at Metolius Elementary School, an upgrade to the HVAC system in the MHS gym area, and a new roof at Buff Elementary, all of which will be complete before the start of school.

Card-lock security systems were installed at MHS, Jefferson County Middle School, Buff Elementary, Metolius Elementary, and Madras Primary last summer.

Paving is nearly complete, according to Hans Rindfleisch, project engineer for Skanska. "We'll be wrapping up the paving here on site," he said last week, noting that curb and sidewalk work along Buff Street would continue this week.

Photo Credit: HOLLY M. GILL - Hans Rindfleisch stands outside the public entrance to the Performing Arts Center."We have a month left before we turn over Buff and Metolius and the track and field area, so we're definitely busy," said Rindfleisch.

Once they finish the parking area, he said that the school district will install irrigation and landscaping.

Despite weather challenges, that included cold weather and two feet of snow in February, higher than normal temperatures in July and August, and smoky conditions in mid-July, the project is proceeding on time.

"The weather was a big challenge for us," said Hyer. "In the winter, we were able to put in temporary protection and a temporary heating system. The summer has been really good so far; we had one hot week, but we were able to work around it."

For example, she said, on the Buff Elementary roofing project, "The roofers started early in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day; they worked from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m."

The Wenaha Group is overseeing the project, which was designed by BBT Architects, and is being constructed by the contractor Skanska.