ORDA improves roof, Whiteface elevator, ski jumps
LAKE PLACID – Work on three major projects for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority has progressed this winter, as the state agency is replacing the Olympic Center roof and elevator at Whiteface Mountain and refrigerating the in-run at the Olympic Ski Jumps complex.
Olympic Center roof
ORDA President and CEO Mike Pratt said the Olympic authority “absolutely” plans to finish the installation of the Olympic Center’s new roof by the time winter arrives.
Pratt said about 75-plus percent of the project was done as of this week. He said the project roughly cost $800,000 and is being financed through ORDA’s capital maintenance funds. He added that four contractors bid on the project before it was awarded to Monahan & Loughlin Roofing and Sheet Metal Specialists of Glens Falls.
“We’ve got a lot of maintenance projects and we deferred a lot of maintenance,” Pratt said, “but that project was highlighted as one of the key ones to try to fit in.
Pratt described the roof replacement project as atypical and much-needed thanks to the shoddy shape the old roof was in.
“It was contrary to everything you’re supposed to do when replacing a roof,” Pratt said. “They were pouring water on it and basically vacuuming up all of the pebbles that were the ballast holding the old membrane down. And then we trucked all of that material out to the ski jumps to keep reusing it in the different projects. They’ve been working at it pretty diligently, and I’d say they are 75-percent-plus done.”
As for the new roof, Pratt said: “There’s a corrugated metal portion that sits on top of steel trusses, and there’s different layers of insulation that are rigged foam and tapered to different drains. It’s a rubber membrane fastened to that.”
The elevator that transports people from the top of the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway to the mountain’s summit center will be closed until late next spring or early next summer at the earliest.
Pratt described the debut date of the new elevator as “dynamic” due to the massive scale of the $3.5 million project. He did add, however, that ORDA plans to work some through winter on the structure of the new elevator. In all, the demolition of the old and installation of the new will be complicated thanks to the elements involved in the work near the 4,865-foot summit.
“All of the demolition, the existing [elevator] has lead-based paint on it,” Pratt said, “so there is a mitigation effort involved also.”
Pratt added that the new elevator will feature improved viewing of the elevator shaft transporting passengers up the mountain core.
“It has cage sections,” Pratt said. “so that it’s like a screen that allows you to see through.
The project is also deriving its funding from ORDA’s capital maintenance funds.
Ski jump refrigeration
The authority also plans to construct new refrigeration of the in-runs at the 1980 Olympic ski jumps in the spring.
Pratt said ORDA has been finalizing the construction plans since the authority received a $3 million grant for the project through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York about a year ago.
“There is still a process that you have to go through with designs and submissions and a lot of administrative requirements,” Pratt said. “But we’ve completed all of that now and have access to it. As we are completing the final designs, now we are going out to a point where we can complete the spring construction.”
Pratt said the grant will also cover improvements to the ski jumps electrical infrastructure, lift replacement and the re-grading of jump’s landing hills.
The ORDA CEO and president added that the improvements will help the authority to host ski jumping competitions it failed to be awarded recently.
“We missed out on the Olympic team trials event this year,” Pratt said. “We wanted it. They felt that our venue was not reliable because of the lack of refrigeration on the in-runs, where a warm wind would have wiped it out.
“It’s a very labor-intensive process” the CEO continued, “where this refrigeration almost ices in the in-runs so that it’s going to be much less labor intensive and provide much more reliability.”