Behind a barrier of chain link fences and a swinging plywood door, construction workers move efficiently throughout the dusty darkness. An industrial heater keeps the workspace warm on a cold, wet morning and the sound of hammers meeting nails contends with the repetitive beep of a forklift backing up.
Adjacent to the newly-constructed aquatic center work continues on the former aquatic center and fitness center, which is being reconfigured. The facility is nearing completion, but a delay in the delivery of exercise equipment will push its grand opening back a few weeks.
According to project manager Jim McMaster, the park district's facilities manager, the equipment will be moved in on Dec. 27 and CPRD still hopes to open the fitness center at some point in January or early February.
"It's like anything – you're hoping you can open it when you want to, but something gets pushed back or delayed," he said. "A lot of it is delivery issues and there's such a backup at the companies manufacturing our equipment that we can't get it as quick as we'd like."
Renovations began in early June and have been humming along ever since. Changes to the facility include an elevated running track, basketball courts, free weights and cardio equipment, and a dance studio fit for aerobics, ballet and other classes. The weight room is much larger than before and the studio will feature a flat screen TV that plays DVDs.
Along the walls surrounding the raised track will be a large mural painted by Portland artist Dan Cohen, who started his piece Monday amid the construction.
The floor below the track is barren for the time being. McMaster said the wood basketball court can't go in until the new facility has its heating system installed.
"You've got to have a regular system in there with the wood for about two weeks," he explained. "The wood needs to acclimate to the facility it's in, and it's really interesting from a scientific perspective. I never thought about that with wood floors."
Tours of the fitness center won't commence until more progress is made, but McMaster said the people of Newberg are curious about what is going on behind the renovated walls of the facility. Once a few things are cleaned up, he said, community members will have the opportunity to see it for themselves.
Right now, workers are feverishly putting the finishing touches on a project six months in the making. The holiday season makes it difficult to map out when exactly it will be done, but once the equipment is ready to be put in, McMaster said CPRD will have a better idea.
"It's a few things that probably won't allow us to have occupancy at this point," he said. "But that's the nature of construction right now – it's backed up, and I think the public understands that. We're moving as fast as we can, but we don't want to push too hard and not have the quality we want. It's an exciting facility for the community, and I hope they like it."
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