FAIRVIEW PARK - The aquatics center at the Gemini Center will be closed for the next three-and-a-half weeks as construction crews replace portions of the roof.
While the pool area is closed, Gemini center members have access to the rec center pools in Westlake and Rocky River at no charge. Other areas of the $19-million rec center remain open.
Repair work began the week of March 18, said Fairview Park Service Director Shawn Leininger. The aquatics center was closed April 15 because workers had to remove pool packs, devices that Leininger described dehumidifiers, heaters and air conditioners all in one unit. Located on the roof, the pool packs control the humidity and temperature of the aquatics center, he said.
In February, the city issued $1.25 million in one-year financial notes to pay for the roof repairs.
The city and three parties involved in the design and construction of the Gemini Center - Building Technicians Corporation, Imperial Heating and Cooling, and Jeffrey A. Grusenmeyer and Associates - had entered arbitration earlier this year to resolve disputes over the roof flaws. The city's original contracts with the parties required that all disputes be handed through arbitration.
Just last week, the parties reached an "amicable resolution" of all claims, said Fairview Park Law Director Joseph P. Gibbons.
Noting that the settlement documents were still being distributed for signatures, Gibbons declined to say how much money the city is receiving. Under the agreement, the parties deny any liability but are contributing to the roof project, he said.
During cold weather, warm, moist interior air hits cold outside air and condenses on wall cavities, causing damage to the roof.
"The problem is with the roof itself," Leininger said.
Specifically, the vapor barrier that spans the roof was supposed to connect to another barrier inside the wall to create an airtight seal, Leininger said. However, a report by Construction Resources, a consultant hired by the city, found that the vapor barrier was not properly terminated at the walls.
The 28-page report also found that certain components of the roof system had been installed poorly and that a sealant had been placed incorrectly.
The entire interior roof over the aquatics center and a portion over the fitness area is being replaced.
There's no safety issue nor buildup of mold, Leininger said, adding that a lower portion of the roof will remain and cover the pool during the work.
The recreation department is taking advantage of the closure to conduct its annual maintenance work at the aquatics center. That means the annual two-week closure of the rec center, which takes place every August, will not occur this year.
The rec center, which opened in 2008, was paid for with a voter-approved half percent income tax increase in February 2005.
Natatoriums are complex structures, and functional failures can be caused by a number of factors, from design to construction to operations, according to a 2013 trade magazine article by two building engineers with the national engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. Cold weather is just one source of problems, according to The Construction Specifier article.
The Rocky River and Westlake rec centers had their share of problems. In 2011, portions of the Rocky River Civic Center’s roof over the indoor pool had to be replaced because of leaking due to an improperly designed vapor barrier. In 2014, the Westlake Recreation Center replaced its roof at a cost of $1.5 million after similar problems were found. That roof was expected to last 20 years but had to be replaced after 17.