City hall renovations delayed, fees increase

Recreation center to include outdoor playground, new wood flooring for basketball court


Pullman City Hall is still under construction. The majority of the electrical and plumbing work has been completed, however the Senior Center kitchen plumbing was not completed correctly, says Recreation Superintendent Kurt Dahmen.

KHADIJAH BUTLER, Evergreen reporter

*This article was updated to correctly identify the renovations in the City Hall and Recreation Center.

The Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the delays with the new City Hall renovations and the increase in various recreation fees during Wednesday night’s meeting.

Recreation Superintendent Kurt Dahmen began the meeting by reviewing the progress on the City Hall and Recreation Center renovations. He said the majority of the electrical and plumbing work has been completed in both buildings.

There are a few components that are delaying the original expected completion date of late Spring 2020 for the City Hall. Dahmen said the main development that will add time to the City Hall renovation is the key system addition that will limit public access to the building.

Dahmen said the original plumbing in the basement of the recreation center, which is where the Senior Center kitchen will be, was not completed correctly, and the water heater will not support the kitchen.

The recreation center renovation will also include larger office space, staff lounge, an outdoor playground, new wood flooring for the basketball court and a larger conference room, Dahmen said.

The weather has allowed the workers to complete the parking lot and landscape, but the irrigation still needs work.

Alan Davis, park manager for the Pullman Parks and Recreation Department, said the sleeves for the irrigation pipes are still in the process of being put in, and the roadwork for the lot and sidewalk destroyed some of the irrigation pipes. He said he hopes they can add a green space that will require more irrigation piping.

Dahmen said the main development that will add time to the renovation process is the key system they are adding, which will limit public access within the building. The system needs to be completed before the installation of the door frames.

The renovation will also include more office space, a staff lounge, an outdoor playground, new wood flooring for the basketball court, and a larger conference room, Dahmen said.

The commissioners also discussed a gas leak in the Pullman Aquatic Center that was discovered Saturday night, and the Pullman Fire Department was dispatched to the center. Dahmen said the fire department discovered a natural gas smell, and high levels of CO2 were coming from the heaters. They also discovered that the gas leak spread to the locker rooms and to the fitness centers.

Dahmen said the gas smell persisted through Monday night. Avista Utilities was dispatched to shut off the gas and determine the origin of the leak. He said they discovered that the heaters were no longer compliant with city code.

Two new heaters were ordered Wednesday, and the heaters for the lap pools will be ordered Thursday.

Dahmen also discussed the increase in recreation prices to take effect in 2020.

The recreation building rental fees will increase because they will be held in the new City Hall building, he said. The RV rental park hookup fee will also increase to $35 due to the IT upgrade to prevent hacking into the city’s database.

Commissioner Becky Dueben said the RV rental hookup fee could be increased up to $35 instead of $32, the original cost Dahmen had proposed since many of the other RV parks in Pullman are more expensive. Dueben said that even with a price of $35, it would still be in competition with the other parks, especially if there is space available.

Dahmen said the price for pee-wee soccer will not increase since the price does not include uniforms or paid referee officials. The coed soccer participation fee will increase to pay for the rental space at WSU and for referees.

The pool entrance fees will increase to the nearest dollar, so the aquatic center will not have to deal with an abundance of quarters, he said. The pool rental increase will pay for the lifeguard fees.

Dahmen said all of the fee increases will be included in the winter and spring brochure so the public can be notified of the changes.

Davis proposed an upgrade to the Spring Street Park during the meeting to combat graffiti and vandalism issues that have happened there.

He said a person who has not yet been identified poured black acrylic paint over the concrete in the skate park. The city has not decided on a way to clean up the paint.

Davis said the cleanup is expected to cost about $1,200. He said they hope to send the bill to the Pullman Police Department, so the suspect will pay for some of the bills and complete community service hours.

The commissioners also discussed expanding the park into the grasslands and including a half-pipe.

Davis said he hopes the city can collaborate with the public schools and key leaders to plan out the design for the upgrade. He hopes the city can receive funding for additions within the next five years.