Structural foundation problems at St. George Rec Center challenge budget

The St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Jan. 3, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News.

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’.”

Now available from STGnews

St. George News App for Android®

St. George News App for iPhone®

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

The St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Jan. 3, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News.
The St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Jan. 3, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • ladybugavenger December 13, 2013 at 9:43 am

    My husband has been waiting, waiting, and waiting for this to be complete. And every time he checks at the rec center its the same thing. The floor is torn up and they dont know when the construction is going to start. He use to play pool there everyday they were open. Pool is his therapy because of his disabilities he can’t lift weights or play basketball. Just seems that the city could come up with the money if it was a place the council members went to. Put it on the priority list!!!! Its been torn up for 6 months!!!!

  • ladybugavenger December 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Its been a wrecked center for 6 months!!!

  • ladybugavenger December 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

    ….and then we here its going to take 120 days once they start construction….(they could have built a whole new rec center in the last 6 months) if they start today it will be done at the end of April.

  • CHIEF December 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I am the disabled person whom used the rec center to exercise. Now I cannot. I believe a new rec center could have been built in the 6 months it has been tore up. The councilmam is wrong. People around town already refer to the place as ” The Wrecked Center. ‘ Shame, shame, shame.

  • Roger December 13, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Interesting there is money to build a fancy water education project (waterpark, monument to someone, etc) on the Red Hill, but not enough to take care of legitimate needs in the community. First step taken (new mayor, city council members). Take note, be fiscally responsible or be unemployed…..

    • Ken December 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      There are so many that need replaced it isn’t funny! First to go needs to be the city manager, who runs this city. He has been in control way too long. Way too many dept. heads have grown to comfortable and need a wake call, but of course most of them are just there until they get their retirement! I highly doubt there will be much change with Mr Pike, as he didn’t stir the pot much as council member.

      • Ken December 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        Maybe the mayor needs to take a hard look at the recreation leadership and clean house!

  • Not A Dixieite December 13, 2013 at 11:24 am

    $200,000… that’s $100,000 (not including foundation, maintenance and utilities expenses) less than what the city paid for a carousel with taxpayer money. The city seems to enjoy throwing your tax money about for its frivolous items; splashpad, carousel, statues, old buildings…. and the community seems to have no say in where THEIR tax dollars are being spent. Probably don’t get to hear about pay raises either.

  • skippy December 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    No money?! But enough, at least, to fund the hideous obelisk sandwiched between Red Cliffs Dr. and I-15? 9-foot faux red rock spire surrounded by what appear to be 2-3 foot basalt mini-towers. Or are those hairs? I can’t quite make it out as I drive past, but it’s darned ugly.

  • Jace December 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    How about the old Jail? Or the Terminal on the hill? or the Electric Theater?

  • CHIEF January 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    I called the Wrecked Center and was told no one knows when any work will start. Their website says the work won’t be done until the end of April. I can clearly see St George city council does not think the community does not need a fully functional rec center. That is very sad.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.