12/06/12 — City looks for W.A. Foster bids

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City looks for W.A. Foster bids

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 6, 2012 1:46 PM

Two years after its future was called into question, the city of Goldsboro might open a new W.A. Foster Recreation Center now that officials have taken their next step toward replacing the aging facility with a new building at Mina Weil Park.

The city is seeking proposals from design firms for the project.

The request for qualification has been posted on the city's website and asks for letters of interest from firms to be considered for the bidding process.

It notes that the city wants to construct a 25,000-square foot facility, which would include a double gym, complete with walking track and retractable bleachers, youth and adult game rooms, a kitchen, classroom spaces and locker rooms, plus exterior entry restrooms to serve as the shower and changing area for Mina Weil Pool.

The request states the city hopes to be able to utilize the new facility by January 2014.

The current W.A. Foster Recreation Center on Leslie Street was built in 1939, decades before contractors stopped using asbestos materials in construction due to its dangers, which were widely reported in the 1970s and 1980s.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard brought in a structural engineer in December 2011 to evaluate the feasibility of knocking out a wall at W.A. Foster to allow for more activity space, but what the engineer found was that there was a widespread asbestos problem in the building which not only prevented inexpensive wall removal, but also could potentially pose a health risk to patrons.

Further studies showed the building was safe for inhabitants, but that a boiler room that had been used for storage would need to be cordoned off.

The closure pushed the replacement of the facility to the forefront of the council's retreat agenda in February, where they approved funding of up to $2 million for a new W.A. Foster Recreation Center.

Staff sought to relocate the center on land the city could purchase a few blocks east, but ultimately decided to locate it on city-owned land at Mina Weil Park.