Hopes that the $4.9 million Pinehurst community center will be finished in time for the start of basketball season have been dashed.
Parks and Recreation Director Mark Wagner said that it will now likely be mid- to late-December before the center is ready for use, nearly two months after it was supposed to be finished.
Bad weather and problems with some of the subcontractors have caused the delays.
The contract called for the facility to be ready by Oct. 23. Earlier this fall, Wagner told the Village Council that the contractor said it would be Nov. 12. That was later pushed back to the first week in December, which would have allowed its adult and youth basketball leagues to start on time; they were scheduled to begin Dec. 7.
Wagner said Wednesday the village has revised the schedules for its children’s and adult leagues, which will now start Jan. 4. He said the season will be extended a couple of weeks into March.
“We still get all of our games in,” Wagner said. “We had really hoped to be in there before basketball started.”
Wagner said the village did not have a backup plan in the event the center was not ready in time for the start of the basketball leagues, though he said there had been some discussion about finding gym space in neighboring towns.
The village had used the gym at Pinehurst Elementary School, but that has been torn down, along with the rest of the campus. A new school will be built on the site of the old one.
In the meantime, the school is operating out of a temporary modular campus in Rassie Wicker Park behind the main fire station for the next two years.
Wagner said the delay amounts to about two weeks, since the leagues do not play over the Christmas holiday.
“It wasn’t a huge impact on us,” he said. “It is not like we’re missing the whole month of December. Obviously we are disappointed that we cannot start on time.”
Wagner said the village participates in a joint youth league with Southern Pines and Aberdeen and it is possible some of those teams could start practicing earlier.
In addition to the basketball leagues, the village had also planned to start offering classes and other programs in the new facility in December. He said those will continue to be held at the Rec Room off Rattlesnake Trail that the village rented several years ago as a temporary measure to provide more dedicated space for parks and recreation programs until the community center was built.
He said the lease runs through the end of December, which was intentional just in case there were delays in finishing the center.
Barring any more delays, Wagner said the parks and recreation staff will be able to move in over the holidays since that is typically a quiet time of the year.
“This will give us some time to settle in,” he said.
He said once the contractor provides the village with a “firm date” for competition, a ribbon cutting and grand opening will be scheduled, which will be sometime in early January after the holidays.
Wagner said in an earlier interview that it was “unfortunate that it has not gone as quickly” as village officials had hoped it would. He said the contractors are doing everything they can to finish work as soon as possible.
Work on paving the parking lot, which has been delayed by weather and other site preparation problems, is expected to begin this week. He said previously that site work has been the “main holdup.”
Furnishing and equipment were delivered several weeks ago, he said.
The village broke ground on the community center last December. It is being built in Cannon Park off Rattlesnake Trail near N.C. 211.
The 19,693-square-foot center will have a full-size gymnasium with court lines for basketball, volleyball and pickleball, as well as a multi-purpose room, arts/crafts room, programs room, wellness/dance room, offices for the parks and recreation staff, restrooms, storage and a small catering kitchen.