ST. GEORGE – On Thursday night, St. George city officials informed the City Council that the foundation of the St. George Recreation Center at 285 South 400 East is degrading due to corrosive soil conditions. The foundation will need to be replaced in the coming year – a project which is expected to cost more than $200,000.
The problem was discovered after an excavation beneath the ground floor, done in conjunction with a planned remodel of a the game room revealed high concentrations of corrosive salts, known as sulfates, in the soil beneath the building, said Kim Campbell, an architect with Campbell & Associates.
“Once they dug the soil down, this salty material started to appear within hours,” Campbell said. “It looked like a white fuzz on the ground in different areas.”
An inspection of the stem walls along the north and west sides of the building showed that the soil was degrading the building’s concrete foundation.
While new structures are required to be built with dense, Type V concrete, which is highly resistant to sulfates, the St. George Recreation Center was built with a more porous concrete that can rapidly deteriorate when exposed to corrosive sulfates.
Structural Engineer Ron Larsen told the council that he recommends that the foundation be replaced using more durable materials. Workers would dig to expose the foundation walls and footers, one 10-foot section at a time, which would allow each section to be removed without compromising the integrity of the structure above.
The project is expected to be expensive, with the lowest contractor bid coming in at $211,800.
“The real issue we have is that, in the current budget, we don’t have enough money to fix it,” City Manager Gary Esplin said to the council. While much of the cost can be paid for with funds earmarked for the
planned game-room renovation – a project that has now been cancelled in light of the foundation problems – the remaining costs will have to come from the city’s capital project fund, he said.
Esplin recommended that the council vote to award the bid at the next council session so that the work can get under way immediately.
The council agreed. “Well, we should probably spend the money,” Councilman Gil Almquist said, “before it becomes a ‘wrecked center’.”
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