WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
CENTENNIAL OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: January 14, 2013
Place: Village Hall Council Chambers
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Commissioners: Chair Graham, Benz, Murdock, Shelly
Staff: Wilson, Bowen, Lambrecht, Flynn, Smith
Visitors: Bryan Abbott, Amy Wolf
Topics of Discussion:
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
3) Communications and Correspondence
4) Recognition of Visitors
5) Managers Reports
6) Old Business: Rink Construction Update
7) New Business
1) The meeting was called to order at 6:15 p.m.
2) The Committee approved the minutes of the November 26, 2012 Committee meeting by General Consent.
3) Under Communications and Correspondence, Commissioner Graham reported an email was received from an Evanston resident who was upset about the non-resident fee increases at the pool. He added Director Wilson responded to this individual who was apologetic in her reply.
4) Recognition of Visitors: Bryan Abbott, Park Board Candidate
5) Under Managers Reports, Tennis Manager Darrell Smith reported staff is ready to send out the annual Golf/Tennis brochure at the beginning of February. The second half of the current indoor season began on January 6 and will run for 18 weeks until May 11. The winter/spring lesson registration was held this past Saturday. There are 386 basic level spots available and 532 people in the lottery. Although this Is the largest number in history, usually several people do not show up. Recommendation forms were just sent out informing patrons which levels they should sign up for. Three camps were also offered on January 2, 3 and 4 and they all filled. Commissioner Graham added there had been a very nice article in The Beacon about the Tennis camps.
Ice Rink Manager Sean Flynn reported the winter session classes started on January 27 with 759 people. This session is typically the most popular one although the numbers were down from last year when there were 870 participants. This decrease may be indicative of the four-year cycle for ice rink participation related to the winter Olympics which usually results in additional skaters. The Skate with Santa event held at Centennial had 166 skaters. In addition, over 50 people participated in our canned food drive to benefit the New Trier Food Pantry. A total of 65 skaters competed in our holiday exhibition which is close to last year’s number. The Holiday Camp had 130 skaters participate even with the two shorter days and the numbers were similar to last year. Public Skating for December totaled 2,200 compared to last year when there were over 3,000 skaters which was likely caused by the warm weather this past December.
Sean also reported the TGIF skating sessions are going well and participation is up with almost 200 skaters. Staff continues to work on the plans for this summer using the Winnetka ice rink for the summer competitive program. Director Wilson explained that the Winnetka rink normally shuts down in the summer but will be staying open while our programs are being held there.
6) Old Business: Ice Rink Construction Update:
Committee Chair Graham stated he had reviewed the bids for the ice rink project and also exchanged several emails with the other Commissioners and Director Wilson review the project. He was hoping the consultants could have attended this meeting and asked if it would be possible to meet with them in the near future. Director Wilson indicated the lead gentleman of the group had other meetings scheduled for tonight.
Chair Graham stated he needed clarification on two of the bid components that exceeded the budget – the recommendation of the ammonia system and the under-ice piping replacement. He stated that he does not understand how the under-ice piping could have been unanticipated.
Commissioner Murdock commented he thought the piping underneath the ice was the weak leak and also questioned why it was left out of the original estimates on which staff had based the capital plan.
Superintendent Lambrecht stated that part of the problem was that when he provided the consultants with the plan design, he provided the original building plans which consisted of a different sub-surface piping. As a result, they assumed we could use what was already installed.
Chair Graham stated it seems implausible that the engineers, if they were acting rationally and professionally, would have assumed the 37-year-old pipes would not have to be replaced. Commissioner Murdock added that it is especially obvious in light of the fact that we had to take the ice down and make some repairs to the piping a few years ago.
Superintendent Lambrecht stated that during the design process the consultants realized we had this small diameter stainless steel piping which we are unable to use with the new system. Therefore, they had to include replacing the piping with a new plastic grid system for the transfer of the refrigerant which is how that increase in the budget came about.
Commissioner Benz stated he thought the piping was 37 years old but it’s really 10 years old so it is at the end of its useful life. Superintendent Lambrecht stated this type of system we are switching to needs to be a larger diameter pipe for transferring the cold. Commissioner Benz stated he has been researching ammonia systems on the internet and has read about fire problems and promises never realized.
Commissioner Graham asked what system options we have. Superintendent Lambrecht replied they are an ammonia-based system and a Freon-based system. He added that the issue with a Freon system is that it will not be as efficient compared to the current Freon system because the type of Freon being used today will no longer be available. The ammonia system is the current trend and he has confidence in our consultant who specializes in this area. As a result, the consultant recommended a very low-load ammonia system which would be contained in the equipment room where there would be little danger of ammonia escaping. It is also the most environmentally-friendly option and is currently used in grocery stores.
Chair Graham asked if we had any data on the new systems being built now and how many of those are Freon or ammonia-based systems. Superintendent Lambrecht replied he would conduct some research. Chair Graham stated it would have been nice to have the consultant at the meetings since the increase in the cost of this is significant and we need to figure out whether there are other options or if this is what we need to put in and why. He stated that Superintendent Lambrecht did a good job of breaking down the cost savings. However, he would like to know why we think there is a trend for ammonia which is why he wants the consultant to provide us with more information.
Chair Graham indicated that we have two options to discuss – we could go through each bid and approve part or all of these bid recommendations in order to get the project done or we could figure out if there is a reasonable way to postpone this project for another year, what the ramifications would be, and what the impact would be on the ice contracts. Commissioner Murdock asked that if we do not make a decision today, would it still be possible to do this project this year.
Superintendent Lambrecht replied we are on a tight timeframe to get this equipment delivered by April. Director Wilson added that they have to start manufacturing it now since it is all custom work.
Commissioner Benz asked if the Committee could meet again and invite the consultant so that we could get some answers to our questions. Director Wilson stated it would need to be an open meeting of this Committee to discuss the bids followed by a Special Meeting of the Board to officially approve the contracts.
Commissioner Murdock stated there would be serious ramifications if we did not move forward with this project this year since we have already set up our ice contracts. He also stated he would like to ask the consultant some additional questions.
Chair Graham agreed with this suggestion and asked if it would be possible to schedule a meeting with the consultant. That meeting would then be followed by a Special Board meeting. Director Wilson then proposed holding the Special Board meeting on Monday night, January 21, before the Parks & Recreation Committee.
Commissioner Murdock stated that we should discuss the generator as well since he doesn’t see how it makes sense to continue considering that proposal. Commissioner Benz agreed and thought that the analysis did not make any sense. Chair Graham then indicated that as a result the generator should be out of the project and stated there are more cost effective ways to deal with those issues as opposed to acquiring a new generator.
Commissioner Murdock added that we had talked about generators at multiple facilities and he thought this analysis needs to be applied to all locations. Also, previous discussions had taken place on a mobile generator which should be reviewed again. Of all our facilities, the ice rink would be the facility which would need a generator the most.
Director Wilson indicated he and Superintendent Lambrecht had talked about pricing out a mobile unit since their main concern is that when the power goes out and the ice starts melting, it could take two days for a generator to arrive. The argument in favor of an on-site generator includes the fact that it wouldn’t get lost and staff would know when it’s working as opposed to one that sits idle for long periods of time. We also need to further review these options before making a recommendation.
Chair Graham stated his concern with the HVAC system for the tennis courts is that it sounds like something we could delay but also sounds like the system isn’t working properly. Darrell Smith agreed that when it’s hot out it is uncomfortable down there with very little ventilation and it has been like that for three years. Commissioner Murdock stated he doesn’t think we need it since we’re doing all of this other work.
Commissioner Shelly agreed it sounds like the HVAC system hasn’t been working and should be replaced. Director Wilson explained that we are actually talking about dehumidification, not air conditioning. The scope changed in that half of the
heating units had turned off because they were leaking gas onto the courts. However, she stated she would rather wait another year especially since the air conditioning is not the problem. Commissioner Murdock stated he didn’t understand the rationale of waiting another year.
Chair Graham started that if patrons are complaining and not using the facility because of the humidity or heat, then that is a problem we should correct. Even if we can’t do it next year because of cash flow issues, he agrees with Commissioner Murdock that if there are enough people who have complained, we should respond.
Commissioner Murdock asked if there was an alternative design wherein we could do less and still have an improved impact. Superintendent Lambrecht replied that we could separate the heat option and just do the dehumidification and remove the radiant heating from this amount. Superintendent Lambrecht stated we would then have to pay twice for the mobilization of a contractor and their equipment would have to be there twice to do the work. The real issue is the dehumidification and the radiant heating could be put on hold.
Chair Graham stated if this is a problem for the users, we should take care of it. If it’s not a problem, we should defer it. Director Wilson recommended that everyone review this topic and present another statement for our next Centennial Committee meeting.
7) New Business: None
8) There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:15 pm.
Minutes taken by Jeffrey Bowen.
MINUTES APPROVED ON FEBRUARY 11, 2013.