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updated: 3/13/2012 12:34 AM

Carol Stream rec center work said to be on track

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Though it has hit some speed bumps, construction of the new $18 million Carol Stream Park District recreation center remains on target, officials said Monday.

Park district leaders broke ground on the planned two-story, 90,846-square-foot facility at the Town Center at Gary Avenue and Lies Road in October. It's part of a $37 million parks improvement program approved by voters in a February 2010 referendum.

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Soon after, crews began installation of a geothermal heating/cooling system by digging holes for pipes, but that process was recently delayed because the subcontractor doing the work filed for bankruptcy, said Arnie Biondo, the park district's executive director, during a board meeting Monday.

The park district isn't on the hook for anything extra, however, because its contract for site construction is with Riley Construction, which has identified another subcontractor to finish the geothermal work, Biondo said.

The remaining footings should be in place by next month, he said.

There were also concerns about "undocumented" fill soil that had been added to the site over the years -- and whether it was wise to build on it.

One consultant who conducted soil boring reports suggested that the building foundation be dug to the original soil layer because of the unknown stability of the fill soil. But a second consultant found that 90 percent of the top layer of soil is stable, and there are only a few areas where foundations will need extra support by use of larger stones below the footings, Biondo said.

He said park district officials sought a second opinion since the first option presented -- digging to the native soil level -- would have been more costly.

Though groundbreaking for the project was in October, park district Commissioner Dan Bird said the intention was not to "hit it hard in the winter."

That has allowed time to get the soil and geothermal issues clarified, he said.

However, next month, passers-by can expect to see walls for the building go up. Completion is expected by fall 2013, with a "hard opening" planned for Labor Day weekend, officials said.

The building will feature a three-court gymnasium, 25-yard swimming pool, fitness center, running track and program rooms.

It is expected to be the first public recreation center building with LEED "green" certification in the state. Biondo said the park district is set to receive a $250,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation if the building meets proper certifications.

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