By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
For the Big Toy playground project, it’s time to get organized.
Construction consultant Bill Hugill from New York-based project consultant Leathers and Associates will be in Keizer Tuesday, April 7. Hugill will spend the day meeting with leaders of the project, including chairs of the various committees, two months before community volunteers are expected to come out in force to build the play structure at Keizer Rapids Park. Construction will take place over a five-day span, from June 10 to 14.
“Bill is one of our lead construction consultants,” said Kyle Cundy, the project manager at Leathers. Doug Hanuaer was going to be coming, but a medical situation led to a change.
“It’s organization day, which is very much what it sounds like,” Cundy said. “We will have our construction consultant meet with each committee, check their status and determine what they need to do between today and the build date. They will create a site layout plan. They’ll get things prepared and on track so we can kick off the build on the right foot. At the end of the day is a wrap up meeting. The consultant will give an update on where they’re at, an evaluation of their progress and will be there to answer questions. The construction captains who are new to the process will have questions of their own.”
A representative from Leathers was last in Keizer for Design Day back in November 2013, when designer Jane Lewis Holman and assistant Steven Meyer looked at possible sites for the play structure, coordinated meetings with elementary students in Keizer, incorporated all of the ideas into a design and finally presented their design to the community in an overflowing council chambers that same night.
Project general coordinator Mark Caillier, who was not on board at that time, noted Holman and Meyer were shown three sites around KRP when they visited. Of the three, Holman liked the original “big tree” site by the amphitheater best. That was the site until the Urban Growth Boundary was expanded last year and a spot in the orchards became the new site. Nearly 200 trees were cleared for the site a few weeks ago, as previously mentioned in the Keizertimes.
“They originally asked about the orchard site and were told it was not available because of zoning issues since it wasn’t in the UGB at the time,” Caillier said. “They had been to the site, but it was thrown out of consideration.”
Since the orchard site was selected last year, Caillier said Google map images, photos and maps of the area have been sent to people at Leathers.
Project leaders – in particular Caillier – have been in regular contact with Cundy via phone and e-mail, but that’s not quite the same as an in-person meeting.
“Physically being with somebody who has done a bunch of these, having him say things like ‘This is a really good idea’ or ‘I wouldn’t sug- gest that’ is big,” Caillier said. “We’ve had the phone conversations, but we’ve not sat down with an actual construction supervisor.”
According to the Leathers website, Hugill has been a playground consultant with the company for 13 years.
Cundy said Organization Day typically is done eight to 10 weeks before the build.
“It’s a very important part of the project,” she said. “Each of the committees will meet with staff and evaluate their progress. If they’re not on track, (Hugill) will put together a game plan to get them on track in the next eight or nine weeks. My feeling is they are doing well. I don’t expect many bad things to happen.
“The idea is to make sure everyone is on the same page and to make sure the team captains understand how the build dates will work and how the crews go together,” Cundy added.
Based on information she’s been getting from Caillier, Cundy doesn’t expect to hear of any teams being behind task. Even if they were, she noted the build dates would not be pushed back.
“We would just put together a game plan to get them caught up (by the build dates),” Cundy said.
Likewise, Caillier isn’t expecting any teams to face an urgent Plan B.
“I think the folks will look at it and say we kind of knew about this, but it’s good to check with you,” he said. “Most of the questions will get answered next week. I don’t think we’re totally pre- pared, but we’re nowhere near a crisis.
“We would like to have 75 percent of our volunteers signed up by next Tuesday, but that’s not going to happen,” he added. “At most places, the majority of volunteers showed up the day of the build. I think we’re going to be fine.”
Caillier said each team or committee will have 30 to 45 minutes to meet with Hugill and will have two or three questions to go over, mainly dealing with where that team is at. The time will also allow for the team leaders to ask any questions they might have, with Hugill able to answer based on his experience with other similar projects.
The day, open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. at KRP with a building site review. Two more meetings will take place at the Big Toy site, including one focused on long-term care, before a lunch break.
Meetings after lunch at the Keizer Community Center will take up most of the afternoon, as Hugill will meet with the leaders of each team, ending with the design and special features team at 5:30 p.m.
Following dinner, Hugill will meet with construction captains at 6:30 p.m. before a summary meeting at 7 with CBTF members, team leaders and construction captains.
Caillier stressed the importance of the Organization Day.
“I don’t think you can have a day any bigger for the project, other than the build day itself,” he said. “This day allows the sharing of information, exchanging ideas, confirming things, seeing where we need to do something. There’s no bigger day.”