Cooler weather has hit the Central Peninsula bringing frost and other signs that winter is coming. With the season, comes the close of construction.
Soldotna crews are working to finish three big projects: the Joyce K. Carver Memorial Library, the Soldotna Municipal Airport and Soldotna Creek Park
While most of the major construction and landscaping is complete, the opening of the new library has been pushed back due manufacturing delays with fixtures, furniture and equipment, City Engineer Kyle Kornelis said.
The city is working with three different companies for shelving, furniture, and shelf siding and computer carrels. Many manufacturing companies won’t begin constructing custom pieces until everything is “100 percent locked down,” Kornelis said.
This has caused a few weeks delay, and the city is now looking at installing these pieces in early November.
There are various delivery dates, he said. And the pieces are cooperative of one another.
“(The items) are kind of interdependent. Obviously we can’t put on the casework components that mount on the shelves until the shelving gets in there and installed,” Kornelis said.
However, even though there is a preferred installation sequence, he said the crews will try to make up some of the manufacturing delays.
“We’ll probably try to accomplish some things concurrently,” Kornelis said. “We may be bringing books in on the shelves before some of the other items are completely installed.”
He said the design team chose various high-quality furniture pieces to accommodate different ages. Adults will have comfortable lounge area in front of the fireplace with chairs and couches. Children will have beanbags and other seating their size. And teens can look forward to multi-functional seating for lounging or studying.
“I think folks will just be excited to see that interior filled up,” Kornelis said.
The airport repaving and expansion is scheduled to be completed Oct. 25, Kornelis said in an email.
He said crews expect to begin paving and striping the runway this week, weather dependant. Pilots can check with Kenai Flight Service Station or the City of Soldotna for dates and times for partial and full closures of the runway.
The completion date of the project was extended because crews found multiple bury pits that had to be excavated and removed in the new apron area, Kornelis said.
“We had one identified that we planned to deal with, and there were a couple of other large ones that we barely missed with our test holes in the preliminary design phase when we were looking for them,” Kornelis said.
He said the crews found a few smaller bury pits in that area as well.
At this week’s 6 p.m. Wednesday city council meeting, council members will vote on an ordinance to increase funds for the project. A Federal Aviation Administration grant will fund $200,519 in additional monies and a state grant and a transfer from the city’s general fund will each pay $6,684.
Kornelis said the contracting agency allows 15 percent in the budget for contingencies. The ordinance is to use that additional 15 percent to cover overrun costs due to the bury pit discoveries.
The city is working with the airport commission to finalize the number of lease lots and the layout of the extended apron.
“I’ve definitely had interest with folks becoming aware of the new project,” Kornelis said. “Certainly when we finish, we’ll do our best to reach out to airport users to let them know that the new airport is available.”
The city plans to complete the restrooms and the pavilion at Soldotna Creek Park before winter.
Kornelis said grass is already starting to come up after hydroseeding and hand seeding, the concrete has been poured for the pavilion and shelters, underground wiring has been installed and gravel trails have been laid.
But there’s still some light poles that need to go up, the roof on the main pavilion needs to be installed and some fine tune work needs to be done with the Purple Heart Memorial. The gas line will soon be run to the restroom, and crews will continue interior and finish work this fall, Kornelis said.
It is likely there will be one holdover to next construction season. Kornelis said the paving of the parking lot will probably be postponed until “first thing next year.”
As far as creating a skating loop this winter, Kornelis said he thinks it’s best to wait a year.
“I know that (a skating loop) been a desire for a number of years,” Kornelis said. … “I think I would recommend against it just so that we can ensure … we don’t damage any of the new topsoil and grass while it’s somewhat delicate.”
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.