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Farmington Centene Center receives extensive water damage

The Farmington Civic Center was quiet Thursday after a break in the emergency sprinkler system caused extensive water damage to portions of the building. City Administrator Greg Beavers estimates that the building will be closed to events for at least a month while repairs are being made. (Kevin R. Jenkins)

Caused by break in emergency sprinkler system

Kevin R. Jenkins,

A water main break underneath the concrete flooring of Farmington’s Centene Center caused extensive water damage to the facility on Wednesday and has forced the building’s closure until repairs can be made.

Describing on Thursday how the incident occurred, City Administrator Greg Beavers said, “Early yesterday afternoon, the eight-inch fire service line that provides water for the sprinkler system at the Centene Center effectively blew up underneath the concrete slab of the banquet area.

“It flooded the facility, so all of the flooring — the carpeting, obviously — is destroyed both in the banquet center and also in the theater part of the building. The water pressure and water volume were sufficient that they floated the concrete floor and broke up a lot of the ceramic tile.”

According to Beavers, the water damage will require the immediate demolition of all the flooring.

“We’re very certain that when we take up the flooring and can visually inspect the concrete, we’re going to find probably between 40% and 60% of the concrete floor in the banquet center part of the Centene Center is fractured and broken. What we saw cut out and replaced, and of course, the eight-inch water service water main that supplies the sprinkler system is going to have to be replaced.”

Demolition work on the water damage is scheduled to begin today.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Beavers said. “Obviously, the demo work on the flooring will be a little bit extensive, and then we’ll find out just how much of the concrete floor has to be cut out and replaced. We contracted with Brockmiller Construction to handle our project, and we’ll have a couple of disciplines involved.

“We’ll have Brockmiller laborers take care of the demolition work, of course, and they’ll likely handle the concrete work also. We’ll have one of the local mechanical MEP contractors, selected by Brockmiller, replace the fire line. The same will be true of the flooring. We’ll get bids on that and replace the floor.”

The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Business and Community Luncheon scheduled to meet at noon Thursday in Centene Center was moved instead to Long Memorial Hall. It will be the first of several planned events that will be forced to find new venues while repairs are being made.

“We’ve canceled all events for the next eight weeks,” Beavers said. “I hope that we can have everything fully put together, restored and back in service within a month so that folks can have use of the facility again. It’s a mess, but on the big scale of things, it’s not that big of a problem to have to contend with.”

The first event impacted by Wednesday’s closure of the Farmington Civic Center was Thursday’s monthly Business and Community Luncheon sponsored by the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce. The program was held instead in Long Memorial Hall. (Kevin R. Jenkins)

Beavers estimates that by the time the cost of repairs and replacement of all the ruined furnishings are totaled up, the cost of damage to Centene Center will be in the $120,000 to $150,000 range.

“Now, of course, the city has insurance to cover those incidents,” he said. “Our deductible for major events like that for our facilities is $20,000. So, we’ll have that expense and move on with life. Our goal is to have it restored and back in function as quickly as possible so people can use the facility. It’s kind of an emergency situation for us to get things moving on this.”

Beavers stressed that damage to the Centene Center was almost completely limited to the banquet and auditorium area of the structure.

“We had water that went down the hallway in front of the administrative office of the Centene Center,” he said. “I think some of it did get through the door over onto the gym floor, but those are either ceramic tile surfaces, or the rubber court surface on the gym court, so it didn’t cause any damage there. It was just a matter of getting that water cleaned up — but there’s no damage to that part of the building.”

Beavers explained that, while repairs to Centene Center will be relatively expensive, it’s not all that much different to comparable situations the city has to deal with in the normal course of doing business.

“You know, we have things all the time that are kind of similar to this,” he said. “We have a major water main break that’s labor intensive and extensive for our crews to have to replace and things like that, and of course, we’ve got storm cleanup situations that happen all the time.

“So, this isn’t any more disruptive to our operations on the larger scale than those kinds of events. But it does affect a facility that is relied upon and used by the public, and we want to get it back in service just as quickly as we can.”

Coincidentally, it was 30 years ago this month that the city began moving forward on construction of a civic center and not long at all since new carpet was installed in Centene Center’s auditorium.

Asked who would be the one to choose the color of Centene Center’s replacement carpeting, Beavers laughed and said, “Well, we already chose that because about six months ago we replaced the carpet in the theater, so we had already gone through color selection and people picking what they liked and what they didn’t like.

“I think we’re probably just going to stick with that original decision and just replace all the carpet everywhere with that same style. We obviously didn’t get a lot of life out of that before we had this problem.”


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