The Garden City Family YMCA plans to perform an inspection on its dome at the end of the month, in part to determine the quality of the work done by dome manufacturer Charter Matrix Group and whether the company breached its contract with the YMCA.

On Friday, the YMCA released a statement on the dome, located near Kenneth Henderson Middle School, saying an independent contractor recently “revealed that the dome manufacturer (Charter Matrix) provided poor workmanship and significant breaches of his contract with the YMCA.”

Garden City Family YMCA CEO Chad Knight said Monday that the contractor’s input was more of a hunch than a determination and referred solely to the fabric used on the dome. The independent contractor, who Knight declined to name, is familiar with domes and, upon looking at the YMCA's dome, said the fabric was not the type specified in the YMCA and Charter Matrix’s contract, Knight said.

The fabric that was agreed to be used was meant to withstand 20 years, but the independent contractor claims the actual fabric that was used won't last as long, Knight said.

Knight said the YMCA has not yet fully investigated the contractor's claim.

Jim Roesner, president of the Solomon-based Charter Matrix and the primary contact for the project, said Knight gave him written authorization to use the material he used early on in the project. He said his company actually used heavier and more expensive material than was originally agreed on in the contract — the project originally was set to use 28-ounce fabric, but Roesner said the company used 34-ounce, a high-quality, heavier and more expensive material at no extra cost to the YMCA or its partners.

Roesner said the fabric would easily last 20 years and had a longer warranty than the original fabric.

“It is not an inferior material,” Roesner said.

Knight said Roesner just recently mentioned the fabric change to him, and that prior to that, the change was unbeknownst to him and the YMCA.

“We believe it’s a breach of contract … We’re still exploring, we’re checking into it to make sure, but right now we believe it’s a breach of contract…” Knight said.

On Dec. 27, with representatives from the YMCA and Charter Matrix, a contractor and a third-party engineer will inspect the dome, running through a routine checklist and investigating any potential issues, Knight said. Ideally, any discovered issues will be fixed within 30 days, he said.

Should they determine that there are issues or changes at the fault of Charter Matrix, the YMCA may seek another company to complete the last few weeks of the project, Knight said.

It was one of several options, but YMCA officials already have discussed the option with two companies, one of which said it could complete the final steps in three to four weeks, Knight said.

The dome, originally planned to open in August 2017, then pushed back several times in 2018, has suffered many delays, all of which Knight pegged on Charter Matrix, particularly due to securing equipment.

The dome has sat largely untouched since it was reinflated on Nov. 2, partially because Charter Matrix had not yet ordered necessary parts, Knight said.

“(It’s) tidbits here and there … Everything else has been going good, going great. It’s just been prolonged, and we’re getting tired of getting the run-around,” he said.

Knight proposed the project, with Charter Matrix attached, to USD 457 in December 2014, and, once approved, ran a capital campaign through early 2017.

Over the years, Roesner said, vendors upped their prices significantly higher than his initial estimates, and he had promised not to increase his charge to the YMCA. He chose to stand by the project anyway, he said, but the extra costs have made things move slowly.

“What I’m doing is procuring the rest of what’s needed in regards to getting the project finished and to their liking...” Roesner said. “Mr. Knight has worked so diligently for three years to get this funding. I figured I would end up buying the balance of the project myself just to see that it gets done.”

Once completed, the dome will be a shared space for Garden City USD 457 and the YMCA, open to KHMS activities during school hours and to the YMCA at all other times. The 118-by-223-foot facility will consist of three multipurpose courts for basketball, volleyball, soccer and tennis, a line of baseball and softball batting cages and a walking track.


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