One of the first challenges encountered in the construction of Pearland’s first public recreation center and swimming facility was dealing with extremely wet subsoil conditions, primarily due to the area’s low elevation.

Pearland, which lies within the Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown metropolitan area, is located in the northern portion of the Gulf coastal plain, a 40- to 50-mi swath along the Texas Gulf Coast.

With a great deal of meetings and cooperative planning among general contractor, EMJ Corp., the structural and soil engineers, and others on the project team, a solution was found that fit the site’s environment and remained within the project’s budget. It was decided the wet subsoil could not be drilled into but would require a pier-based structure. The plan even saved the owner $150,000.

The project includes a competitive gym with a four-lane track as well as swimming facilities. The 63,300-sq-ft, structural-steel recreation center houses a double-height competitive gym that can seat 588 spectators. Also included is a dance room, aerobics room, weight room, two racquetball courts, locker rooms, offices and other multipurpose rooms.

The 41,817-sq-ft natatorium, also double height, contains an eight-lane, 50-meter competition pool and a four-lane, 25-yd instructional pool with a handicap ramp.

Beyond the wet subsoil conditions, the team was faced with a bigger challenge of building what amounted to two completely different structures: one of structural steel and the other of glued laminated timbers. Because of the two construction styles, two different contractors and 48 different subcontractors were used, creating a need for a great deal of cooperation.

To maintain quality control, EMJ held 15 preconstruction meetings to ensure everyone was on the same page. In addition, weekly meetings were held with all subcontractors. The close coordination kept the team abreast of responsibilities and issues and ensured completion of the project on time and on budget.

Key Players

Submitted by: EMJ Corp.
Developer/owner: City of Pearland
General contractor: EMJ Corp., Irving, Texas
Architect and civil engineer: PBK, Houston
Structural engineer: CJG Engineers, Houston
Mechanical engineer: Fort Bend Mechanical, Stafford, Texas
Electrical engineer: Quinco Electrical Inc., Irving
Plumbing engineer: Johnston Commercial Plumbing LLC, Houston