Rec Center Ceiling Loses Battle with Rain

Tiles at aging facility start to come loose in wake of downpour.

The Long Beach Recreation Center was closed Friday after a section of the ceiling started to fall in the wake of stormy weather.  

The suspended ceiling tiles in the lobby, men’s locker room and an office came loose after heavy rain fell overnight and leaked into the building where city employees are reconstructing the roof.

“A small section of the ceiling had come loose because of the rain this morning,” James LaCarrubba, the city’s commissioner of public works, said Friday. “We took that opportunity to tear down the entire ceiling and remove all of the insulation and sheetrock that has been sitting up there for God knows how long.” 

Workers were expected to finish replacing the roof during the weekend, as the facility was reopened Saturday morning. “We’re going to be putting a new ceiling, some new lighting and wiring in the lobby and the hallways,” LaCarrubba said about the repairs.

Water has leaked into the multipurpose facility for many years, perhaps even decades, LaCarrubba said. The aging facility on Magnolia Boulevard and West Bay Drive, which features a pool, weight room and cardio room, has been the subject of much criticism from residents who have called for upgrades and an even an entirely new building.

LBLover May 07, 2012 at 02:04 PM
This is what you raise taxes for... new rec center!
Publius May 07, 2012 at 02:27 PM
The rec roof collapsing and getting a "fix" is precisely why we need to right this ship now. We need to ackle the deplorable fiscal condition of the City now. Make it better for the residents and workforce as a whole. Our operating costs with no improvements exceed our ability to pay. Period. We cannot be taxed enough (without creating a death spiral) to meet the benefit costs. So improvements and "new" things are out of the question. Our City management and Unions can find a long term workable solution if they want to. Let's hope they want to.
joe May 07, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I saw some city workers on the rec roof about 3 weeks ago and they looked like they were removing a section. Two days later they were gone leaving the roof open and exposed. The weather was nice and it seemed like a good opportunity to repair the roof which has been leaking for years. When I asked where the workers went I was told that they were pulled off the job by Schnirman so they install an internal partition in the senior center. When the rain came as we all know it is going to the roof was leaking and the ceiling was about to collapse. Police,fire and the City Hall crowd showed up on a rainy Sunday 2 weeks ago. What did Schnrman think was goingto happen when it rained on an open roof? Now it rains again and the ceiling comes down. Amatuer hour has arrived in City Hall. These guys don't have a clue and it's going to cost us a fortune?
Misty May 07, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Jeez, first the high school, now the Rec. This is what happens when people in the maintenance department, don't maintain. No one seems to be proactive; just reactive. Structures need to be maintained in coastal communities more then anywhere else. It seems that we ALWAYS wait until something big happens.
paul.d.spellman May 07, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Patch Staff, Can you send someone to the Rec or place a call to find out if the Harvey Plaque was damaged by this incident?
Ed May 08, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Why dont you inquire...?
cabbage patch kid May 08, 2012 at 12:53 AM
These bone heads in maintance and mafia run union csea do this on purpose doesn't anyone get it. BEND OVER gullible tax payers
Lobster May 08, 2012 at 11:55 AM
This is how work is found for city employees, wait too long for preventive maintenance(if any maintenance schedule is actually in place), do half a repair (intentionally), smile when more damage happens, pass out the overtime because it's now an emergency repair and must be done. LB Politrix.
JP Ashcroft May 08, 2012 at 01:06 PM
This is typical LB Politics. Run on a platform of false "0%" tax increase year, woo the people into a trance and then enter City Hall and never look at the infrastructure. Of course we all can promise 0% if we do nothing about the building repairs but lets be honest and upfront for a change. The Rec was built in 1957 and the only other thing older than that is Dottie. Just look at the West End Firehouse and what it cost us to "repair" that !! Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the Recreation Center falling down. The place is a disgrace and now barely functional. There is ceiling mold in the men's room, should I be concerned about breathing that stuff in? We have exterior vinyl siding on the ceiling of the men's room to prevent paint from falling down. Is that lead paint and should I be worried about it? The entire place is flawed and all we have to show for it is a nice Harvery plaque. If I were him I'd send in the crew to remove it and put it in storage until something better comes up. Denise Ford gave simple lip service to a group seeking to put together plans for a new place. Sure, she looked concerned and moved her eyebrows to show interest but it's a shallow gesture. Past City Officials hold the meetings to pacify residents, nothing more. There never is any "real" attempt to move forward with a comprehensive plan. So, the City does is "reactive" dance as the overtime books come out and a temp job on the roof is performed. We deserve better!!
LBMom May 08, 2012 at 02:07 PM
My kids used to be on the swim team. One day I just pulled them out of the pool. The air quality in the rec was horrible. My eyes and lungs hurt just watching them swim. I have never been in the men's locker room... Well, my son who had asthma at the time no longer has asthma. Coincidence? Perhaps. They now swim only to train for Jr. Lifeguards. A few weeks ago it was raining inside and out. It is scandalous.
Publius May 08, 2012 at 02:57 PM
All - -this is why each of us needs to email the City Manager and City Council and tell them they idetified the fascal crisis and they must fix it. This is just the tip of the iceberg -- below the surface is our inability to fund street improvements and sewer system (look at the cap improvement budget prepared by Theofan team (which the current admin is using, too)).
Love This City May 08, 2012 at 08:13 PM
The REC is indicative of the entire Long Beach government. The budget is ridiculously inflated and overpriced compared to the condition of the building, the maintenance program and the curb appeal. The REC is overpriced for the service and quality the taxpayer receives. We stopped going to the rec when there was feces and used feminine napkins on the floor of the lockerroom that appeared to be there for an extended amount of time. I vote for selling the rec center to a PROFESSIONAL company that knows how to run a multi-faceted sports complex. Let the city sell the property and the buildings and make sure there are covenants for City of Long Beach residents to receive reduced membership and activity fees. Therefore we get a large initial payent and lose all the maintenance, and management expenses. In addition going forward there would be tax payments on the property. Let a professional manage the building, not a man from Brookhaven with no experience. “We’re going to be putting a new ceiling, some new lighting and wiring in the lobby and the hallways,” Who is putting in new lighting and wiring? A professional electrician? a friend from Brookhaven? or unlicensed Long Beach employees who should not be touching new wiring? The city maintenence program was lacking in the past, but now it is just horrible. I have never seen the grass so high in most medians around town and the workers have no direction from upper management. The clueless are running themselves out of town.
Eddie May 08, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Unfortunately, the City's "engineer" lied to this reporter. The water infiltration didn't happen over years of leaking, it happened because the City hired an inept contractor who pulled the roof off the place and disappeared. City workers made a vain effort to cover the place with tarps, but the deluge couldn't be held back and substantial damage occurred to the suspended ceiling and insulation. We have three grossly unqualified public appointees here: 1. A commissioner of public works with zero qualifications and experience and no professional engineers' license, earning more than $130,000. Fiascos like these are precisely why public law requires a licensed engineer for this position. 2. A Commissioner of Recreation with zero qualifications in management, recreation or public administration, earning $100,000. 3. An unqualified, unlicensed contractor stripping a roof without insurance or experience or open bidding, chosen because he was -- eh "friend or family". If this type of behavior wasn't so dangerous, it would be comical. Civil Engineering shouldn't be the rheum of political hacks, amateurs and wannabes. The next roof collapse can kill someone.
joe May 08, 2012 at 08:55 PM
It is only going to get worse!!! Dump Hype and Blame Schnirman. That will be a step in the right direction.
joe May 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Actually the City didn't hire an outside contractor to strip the roof they used in house city workers. When those workers stripped the roof they were removed by the city manager and directed to put up a partion wall in the senior center. Who in their right mind opens up a roof and then leaves it like that? Our esteemed public works commissioner should have explained to our idiot city manager that the partition would have to wait until the roof was sealed. Guess what the roof satyed open and it was deluged on Sunday afternoon two weeks ago. Still and even after that incident the workers continued to work next door at the senior center not on the rec roof. This latest collapse was the second, now they are blaming it on lack of ongoing maintainence. Spin it anyway you want Jack but this one is on you.
I.D. May 09, 2012 at 02:48 AM
i went to the rec today to buy my beach passes...good luck on that. they are not ready yet. seriously, you have had 9 months to be ready for this. and the rec is a WRECK and there is mold and hair all over the floor in the ladies locker room. i will not swim in the pool anymore, tired of feeling like i just swam through an oil spill, and then there are the clumps of other peples' hair in the pool. i did speak with the pool lady a month ago regarding this filthy situation, everybody should be wearing a cap unless they have marine cut. the entire city is a dirty, broken mess. i am so sad to see my dream community under a big, corrupt cloud.
Eddie May 09, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Remember this when you pay your $550 increased tax bill and when you vote in November.
Fred Barnes May 09, 2012 at 01:56 PM
why wait for november?? to give another team an opportunity to screw it all up some more?? why not hold the new team responsible for fixing the budget"? go to the may 15 budget hearing and blast the city council about raising taxes
Eddie May 09, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Today, the "City Engineer" ordered plastic bags hung under the leaks where the roof was removed. The bags quickly filled with water, so he directed holes to be applied to them permitting pressure relief into garbage cans. A long string of temporary lighting was nailed under the leaking ceiling. I hope someone in this city is qualified to do something that they were hired to do. Pretty dangerous situation right now.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »