Key equipment off-limits at new UH rec center - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Key equipment off-limits at new UH rec center

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The University of Hawaii at Manoa's Warrior Recreation Center turns a year old Saturday and while most of its new equipment is working fine, one of its key features has been off-limits for months.

UH spent $24,000 for the purchase and installation of two Sky Walls, which are similar to Stairmaster machines for rock climbers.

"I liked it. It was a really hard workout. I come from Colorado where we rock climb all the time," said UH sophomore Jamie Lamer, who reported problems with the machines started not long after the center opened last April.

"It would shut off in the middle of workouts. There were problems turning it on. A lot of times you had to physically unplug the machine in order to turn it on," Lamer said.

Meghan Mitchell, a UH junior, said, "They were really nice and new, so we didn't expect them to have the problems that they did."

The machines have spent a lot of time offline and then four months ago, UH officials shut them down permanently for safety reasons.

"Lately it's been unstable. Meaning that it's been shaky and because it's a rock climbing wall that does cause some safety hazards," said Alycia Kiyabu, president of the UH Campus Center board, which oversees the recreation center. “So within the last four months, they decided to just take it off completely so that students don't get hurt while using it."

UH officials said the U.S. branch of the Australian manufacturer has gone out of business, complicating the search for replacement parts and a permanent fix.

There is no estimate of how long repairs could take or how much they will cost, UH officials said.

There are some other wear-and-tear problems at the new center.

For instance, spigots for filling water bottles at two water fountains are broken and some shower heads have broken in the men's locker room.

UH officials said they filed warranty claims for both the water fountain and shower problems, but the contractor denied them, saying that the problems were due to bad maintenance or abuse of the equipment. UH is working to replace the parts.

"There are some things that we are addressing right now. There are some things that are under warranty that we are working with the contractor, having discussions with the contractors,” said UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl. “This is a very high-use facility. We are averaging about 2,000 people a day in here and 98 percent of everything in here is working and it's working great."

The facility features two levels of workout equipment and free weights, along with play courts that can alternate between volleyball and basketball setups. There is also an indoor track, rooms for fitness classes and locker rooms.

The $34 million center opened April 11, 2014, 16 months behind schedule. Numerous delays plagued construction of the building, including a window subcontractor that went bankrupt .

In late April of last year, Honolulu Builders, the main contractor of the project, sued the university. The company claimed it was owed $2.7 million by UH for 200 changes to the project made without negotiating price increases. The contractor also claimed it spent money dealing with numerous delays that were UH's fault.

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