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Dates extended for rec and convention centers

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Alison Penn Photo Pictured is the Roswell Convention Center, with a new sign on the side of the building facing North Main Street.

The city of Roswell has released new opening dates for two under-construction facilities, the Roswell Convention & Civic Center and Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center.

“Let me start with an old phrase ‘a watched pot never boils,’” City Manager Joe Neeb said in an emailed statement. “This adage fits these two projects well. Everyone is thrilled with these two projects and are waiting as patiently as possible for final completion.”

Neeb also shared that city staff will be providing a detailed report on both facilities at next month’s full City Council meeting.

For the convention center, Neeb said the city was “hopeful” of acquiring a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) at the end of October. Neeb said the city planned to request a TCO for the existing side and will be requesting another TCO next Thursday for a new addition. He said Kevin Dillon, the project manager and the city’s project and facilities director, said the work is proceeding ‘very well.’

The city had originally hoped to have the facility fully open by August for the New Mexico Municipal League annual conference. The conference took place in the existing portion of the facility, while some of the new addition was still under construction.

By order of the Construction Industries Division (CID) and the Fire Marshall, Neeb stated that additional adjustments and system completions were required that have extended the convention center’s working deadline.

At the city’s Infrastructure Committee meeting on Oct. 22, Dillon said J&G Electric Co. re-serviced emergency lighting for the convention center, which was one of the biggest concerns from CID, and due to “lack of servicing of the equipment,” which cost $9,000.

In addition, Neeb said “no extraordinary issues that have affected the last two months of construction.” He said the last stages and finishing touches are the “most exciting.”

In regard to the venue management company, Neeb said Spectra has been working by preparing for the fully operating convention center for the past four months and are based at City Hall. Since the company arrived, Neeb said they have “attracted 31 new events and 56 new event days” and they “can’t wait” to see how their services “increase value to every event.”

For the rec center, Neeb said the completion date is estimated to be May 31 — but added time may be needed to complete the auxiliary parking lot. Last month, Dillon said everything was going as planned, but the weather has been a “major setback issue” on the rec center.

The city had hoped to open the rec side of the facility in January. Dillon also said issues related to the completion of the parking lot created concern about opening the rec side in January.

“Definitely May is still overall, end-all target for everything — the pool and everything,” Dillon said. “But trying to do an intermediate phasing opening is what’s becoming a challenge right now.”

The General Services Committee on Oct. 24 also discussed the opening of the rec center. Elizabeth Gilbert, city’s director of administrative services, reminded the committee that the pool contract is in negotiations with City Manager Joe Neeb and the city’s recreation staff working on programming and preparing for training.

Gilbert also said there had been earlier intentions to have the recreation portion open for the city’s basketball program, and the opening remains tied to the completion of construction.

Gilbert said the recreation portion of the facility was “built to mirror” the services at the Yucca Center and the indoor pool is “a new endeavor” compared to the closed Cahoon Pool, which was outdoor and only open seasonally. At this time, the 107-year-old Yucca Center is scheduled for demolition and Cahoon Pool was voted to be closed in 2016. In February, a plan was presented to demolish the pool and create a Cahoon Pavilion area, but no formal action has been taken at this time.

“There’s a lot of different pieces — staffing, procedures, different equipment that comes into play with that — but we are working on all of those elements to make sure that they kind of come together collectively to produce at the end of the day a well-run facility that people enjoy visiting and have fun,” Gilbert said. “So we want to make sure that that happens.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.