Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Best seats in the house are almost ready for you

Prince Rupert's makeover of the Russell Gamble Gymnasium is well on its way to completion, the Vancouver based work crew specially trained in seating installation has been working through the Christmas and New Year break, eager to make its deadline of late January for full installation of new seating for the Jim Ciccone Centre's basketball shrine.

The new look and expanded seating capacity will be ready just in time for the upcoming All-Native basketball tournament, a fitting celebration for the 50th anniversary of one of Prince Rupert's sporting and cultural traditions.

The update on progress was found in Tuesday's Daily news.

Bleachers replaced with soft seats at 'the Jim'
BY George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Pages one and two

The sound of nails pounding into wood and power drills curling holes in brick walls are sweet to the ears of Jim Ciccone Civic Centre staff.

Finally, the new bleachers began arriving and with funding now 68 per cent of the way there for the seats, things are looking pretty sharp in Russell Gamble Gymnasium.

TaLedi Distribution is the company that was installing the new mould seats and bleachers, worth $350,000, during the Christmas period.

While most of the nine men brought here from Vancouver were set to go home for the holidays, some stuck it out to push the project toward its finishing date in January.

“We bring up people that are trained already” said TaLeDi Director of Operations Luc Bedard.

Because two of the trained workers are certified installers, the company has offered the city a five-year factory warranty on the bleachers, which is good news for the city because replacing these expensive black and-red seats would be difficult.

Bedard said having a highly skilled team with him makes him hopeful that the project can be finished by the end of this month.

"Maybe, if things go really, really well (work will be finished early)," said the optimistic Bedard as work began last week.

He said the reason for the smooth and fast speed of the project was the way the city's department of recreation and community services stepped up to make things happen.

"The centre had everything cleaned up and had everything empty so we had total access, we didn't have to clean up after someone else - people playing basketball or people cleaning up at night, things like that, which happens on some jobs," said Bedard.

The seats are being installed for one of Prince Rupert's most important annual events, the All- Native Basketball Tournament that is heading in to its 50 anniversary, which begins Feb. 6.

The plush foam seats come with armrests, comfortable backing and they tuck conveniently under the bleacher steps when the gym needs to be opened.

He added that the gym floor was nice and level, which considering the age of the building was great news for the workers, leaving him full of praise for the way city staff had helped expedite the process.

 "All things considered, it's been an ideal thing to set up," said Bedard.

The city originally had hoped to have the funding for the work completely in place by Sept. 12, but the fund was only one-third of the way there by that time work began and the city was forced to take out a loan to get the rest of the way.

There is still hope that the final 32 per cent can be found before opening tip-off.

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