According to the calendar we’re midway through our construction project. While it’s very exciting to see the progress that’s been made, it’s also been a little frustrating. While a lot of work has gone on in a lot of areas, almost nothing has been “completed”. That should all start to change in the next couple of weeks, as we have several spaces in the existing building that are nearly finished.
The final touches are taking place in the office complex that is above the women’s locker room. All of our administrative personnel will be moving there, and most of the offices that are now above child care will be removed to create more room for cardio equipment. The small weight room above the men’s locker room is also going to be done in the next few days. For the next couple of months we’re going to use this space for classes; when the addition opens up it will then revert to being a weight room. The temporary wall in Studio 1 has now been removed, and all the new windows and doors are now in place. This room will also be changing its function once the addition is open. Basketball will be moving in, and only a few classes will be held in this room. Mirrors and stereo equipment will have to be moved, so while we’ve regained some of the space we lost during construction, this room will remain partially unfinished until early this summer.
Finishes are also beginning to go into the addition. Most of the windows and skylights are now in place, and the glass block was recently installed in the women’s locker room. The tile has all been chosen and will start going up next week, as will the Corian countertops and maple cabinets. Everything, the amount of space, the color palette, the quality of materials, will be a major upgrade.
In the existing building, work is wrapping up on framing the bridge that will connect the existing 2nd floor to the upper story of the new addition. The dust barriers will soon be coming down and you’ll get to see how these spaces will function. Spin classes will continue to use the south side of what used to be Studio 2, but once the addition opens this area will all be converted to weight room. The construction crew will next be moving up into the main cardio area. As previously mentioned, they will be taking out those offices, and also adding more skylights. They will be doing some work in the ceiling that will help the building withstand earthquake damage. There will also be seismic upgrades along the perimeter walls in the weight room, where we will be adding some steel columns.
Once the weather cooperates, we’re poised to tackle a number of things outside the building. The exterior finishes (stucco & metal panels) can be applied to the addition, and the parking lot expansion and renovation will begin. Overall the construction process has been very positive in terms of staying on time and on budget. We did underestimate the amount of disruption that would take place for our members. It was initially our understanding that we were going to have the addition open before most of the work inside the existing building got started. As we all now know, that has not been the case.
Since last summer we’ve dealt with temporary plywood walls, areas draped in black plastic, construction noise, and a reduction in the amount of parking we have available. We’ve had the pools closed for months, an ever-changing fitness class schedule, and rooms that have shrunk, been closed, or changed uses. It’s been quite a challenge. What has surprised us the most throughout this period is how positive and upbeat our members have been.
Nobody likes to have their normal routine disrupted, and given the circumstances, we would almost expect to have our suggestion box stuffed with complaints on a daily basis. But instead, we’re constantly getting positive feedback! We never know quite how to take this…when we look around all we see if destruction…temporary walls, holes in ceilings, construction debris, etc. So what we’ve started saying when someone tells us how great everything looks is “Well….…if you look in the right spots”.
We’re also continuing to sign up new members at a surprising rate. We expected we’d see a surge once the addition was finished and people could see how nice it was. What’s happening now is hard to understand. Sure, the building now looks a lot more interesting from the freeway, but it has to be more than that. We know that our staff is great at making visitors feel welcome and explaining what’s coming, but most people will wait until they can actually see something before making a decision.
We are a little worried that given the fact that we’re currently a little compromised in terms of the amount of space we have, both in the building and in the parking lot, that at some point in the next couple of months we might get overcrowded. If you start to find that you can’t find a parking spot or are having to wait for equipment, please let us know. We’ve capped our membership in the past and we will do it again if we start having problems accommodating our current members.
While we’re midway through the project in terms of time, we’re still not quite “over the hump” when it comes to returning to normal operating conditions. We’re planning on opening up the addition in June, and at that point things should be much better. The women will have their new locker room, the new fitness studios will be operating, we’ll have new and expanded cardio areas, the weight room will be larger, and we’ll have a lot more parking.
The next few months are going to be very exciting (and at times very challenging) as we forge ahead and see the balance of what is “finished” and what is “still under construction” shifting to the good side. We want to once again thank you for your understanding and patience while we make our way through this process, and look forward to sharing the final product with you in the very near future.