Local news

Construction complete on EWU Rec Center

MONDAY, MAY 12, 2008

CHENEY – After nearly two years of construction, the Eastern Washington University Recreation Center opened last week.

Crews broke ground on the $26.3 million facility in July 2006. Students approved a 30-year bond to pay for the about 118,000-square-foot building. Every quarter for the next 30 years, each student will pay a $65 activity fee. The general operating costs will be picked up by the university, and fees for the general public will contribute to that as well.

The new building will be the home of intramural and club hockey games, public skating, pick-up basketball games, volleyball, a fitness center and a late-night bistro.

David Early, the director of recreational facilities, said that faculty, staff, retired staff members and alumni may use the Rec Center for $25 a month or $275 for an annual pass. The family rate – which covers two or more family members – will be $40 a month or $440 annually.

For everyone else, the monthly fee will be $35 a month or $385 annually, and the family rate will be $60 a month for two or more people or $660 for an annual pass. Day passes will be $5.

The roughly 19,000-square-foot ice rink is NHL regulation size and has had ice down for about a month.

Suspended above the gym floor is a 200-meter running track that leads to the fitness center, which will have separate floors for strength training and cardiovascular exercise when it opens in late June.

The building also has a 35-foot climbing wall and a 10-foot tall synthetic sheet of ice to practice ice climbing.

– Lisa Leinberger

She works for every drop

Kathleen Small, manager of the Pasadena Park Irrigation District, is Washington state’s No. 1 leak plugger.

Officially, she’s the state Department of Health’s “Operator of the Year” for leading her staff in a successful campaign to rehabilitate a water system that once leaked enough to fill more than 8 1/2 Valley Mission pools a day.

Small said the district lost nearly a half-gallon of water for every gallon it delivered in summer months in 2002 – a loss of approximately 45 percent.

Since 2002, the district has reduced the leakage by about 820,000 gallons a day to approximately 12 percent of summer water sales. The goal is to cut the loss to less than 10 percent by the end of 2010, Small said.

The task was daunting for a water district with six employees, 2,200 connections and 5,500 residents.

“We had 40 years of deferred maintenance,” and lack of records made it difficult to identify needs, Small said. Most of the district’s water mains were installed before 1950.

Washington Health Department officials said Small calculated pumping costs and the value of conservation to justify a construction project that so far has cost the water district about $4 million. It was a major undertaking - and a test of faith - for a district with a $1.6 million annual budget.

District officials didn’t know until 2004 that they had won their bet, Small said. She recorded an “enormous drop” in leakage that year, down to 37 percent of the 2002 loss.

The district has replaced nine of its 23.7 miles of water mains and plans to replace about three more by the end of 2010.

– John Craig

Girl spearheads project

POST FALLS – Sometimes the best lessons come from unexpected places.

Post Falls residents will soon be learning more about their city’s past, thanks to the efforts of an enterprising Ponderosa Elementary School student.

Fifth-grader Maddy Baker spearheaded a Post Falls walking tour project that will soon feature murals of influential early town leaders on buildings downtown.

Maddy launched the project after seeing similar murals during a visit to Anacortes, Wash., almost two years ago.

“After seeing these murals, you wanted to walk instead of riding in the car,” the 11-year-old said. “I knew that there would be a lot of people who could help out.”

The project is flourishing with the support of Maddy’s mother, Ponderosa Elementary Principal Kathy Baker, artist Linda Fabrizius and the Post Falls Historical Society.

The almost life-size depictions, painted on wood, will be affixed to buildings downtown over the next month. Each will be accompanied by basic identifying information.

More detailed biographies written by Ponderosa Elementary School students will be available online.

– Amy Cannata


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