Metropolitan Multi-Service Center to be completely reopened in March 2016

Aug. 6, 2015Houston Chronicle

The city’s Metropolitan Multi-Service Center should be completely reopen to the public by March 2016, almost a year after a water main break shut down much of the popular facility.

City Council on Wednesday approved a construction contract for up to $1.85 million to reconstruct parts of the center at 1475 West Gray. The facility is a mainstay in the disabled community, as it offers wrap-around recreation and support services for those with disabilities as well as meeting space for clubs and civic groups.

It’s also among the city’s most heavily used polling places. Early voting runs from mid-October to the end of the month, and Mayor Annise Parker said crews will be working to meet that deadline. Only part of the building will likely be open by then, with all amenities ready for public access by March 2016, said Richard Vella, head of design and construction with the city’s General Services Department.

The April incident left non-profits that call the center home scrambling and residents that used the services were forced to turn elsewhere.

“We’re working as fast as we can, and we’re trying to focus first on making sure that it’s available to people who need the services,” Parker said. “You know a lot of what happens at the Multi-Service Center is office space, so we want to get to the pool, the gym, the weight room so our disabled community is able to be there.”

The city described the 6-inch water main break that occurred in April as a “catastrophic water pipe failure that flooded three quarters of the building’s interior.” The list of work to be done is extensive, including demolition and repair of the concrete slab flooring and masonry walls. The flooring the gym needs to be removed and replaced, and electrical and plumbing work will be needed throughout.

The pool, one of the only in the Houston area that is wheelchair-accessible, has been open since several weeks after the water main break. Some of the office space, too, was unaffected. The outdoor park has remained open to the public.