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Gateway Complex reopens with portable restrooms

Temporary fix for two failed valves will happen Friday

(Tuesday, Oct. 10, 3:30 p.m.) A water main issue closed the Gateway Complex on Monday and much of Tuesday, but after setup of three portable toilets outside Peacock Hall, Gateway had largely opened by about 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10.

GRF Trust Maintenance Supervisor John Raith said two pressure-reducing valves (PRV) on water lines that serve the entire Gateway Complex failed, likely because of age. They apparently failed while in a “closed” position, Raith said, diminishing water pressure to the point that the toilets at Gateway couldn’t work properly. Maintenance was made aware of the issue around 8 a.m. Monday.

The valves that failed appear to be the original ones installed with the Gateway complex’s construction in the early 1960s.

The work for a long-term fix on the valves will probably take only one day, Raith said, but getting the parts could take as long as six to eight weeks. But Ann Mottola, GRF’s director of community services, said a “pretty solid band-aid” is scheduled to be installed Friday, which should eliminate the need for the portable toilets.

Until Friday, at least, restrooms at Gateway administration, Peacock Hall and the Fireside Room are closed to the public.

Raith said the bill for the long-term repairs isn’t known, but that it won’t be cheap.

A handful of meetings and other events were either postponed or canceled. A Ceramic Arts Club meeting was rescheduled from Oct. 10 until Tuesday, Oct. 17 – and the First Mutual annual and organizational meetings scheduled for Oct. 10 in the Fireside Room were changed to virtual only. With the portable restrooms in place Tuesday afternoon, evening events were set to resume on their normal schedule.

Betty Baker and Patty Taylor, members of the Ceramic Arts Club, noted that their faucets were working Tuesday afternoon, whether or not the pressure was to its usual standards. Their Oct. 10 meeting cancellation wasn’t inconvenient as the club is firming up preparations for its big annual sale, set for Nov. 4. A couple of artists were to have appeared at the Oct. 10 meeting, as well, Taylor said.

But it’s the Nov. 4 sale that is crucial – it’s the club’s biggest annual fundraiser, Baker said. Assuming the short-term repairs hold up for the next several weeks, the sale – which typically draws hundreds of residents, plus featured artists – will move ahead as planned.

Water was also working in the Wood Shop, even if not at full pressure. Bob Wheeler, the Wood Shop supervisor, said closure of the restrooms into Friday would be an inconvenience for a few days, but probably wouldn’t substantially affect Wood Shop operations. Nevertheless, he welcomed getting the restrooms back up to full strength, both in numbers and in water pressure.

“The port-a-potties should probably be good enough, and if (the closures) go on, it might be more of a problem,” Wheeler said. “Old people have to pee a lot.”