>   Over two years after voters in Jefferson County approved the construction and operation levies for the Madras Aquatic Center, the board of directors was dismayed to learn last week that the district's first employee is resigning.
   MAC general manager Robert DaSilva, who started work Nov. 1, 2006, announced March 26 that he is resigning.
   Although the resignation means a search for a replacement, board chairman David Evans was optimistic about the long-term effect of the resignation.
   "It's certainly disappointing that we're in this spot, but as far as timing goes, it could be worse," he said, indicating that the board has a couple months to find a replacement.
   "We're examing our options and hope to begin interviewing viable candidates in the next couple of weeks," Evans said. "We hope we'll be able to have someone in place before he leaves, so we can have an effective transition."
   Since DaSilva started work in November, "He's been spending a lot of time getting programs in place, preparing our upcoming fiscal year budget, and coming up with policies and protocols," Evans said.
   DaSilva's resignation will have no effect on construction of the aquatic center, which is under way on 3.5 acres of land located southwest of the Jefferson County Middle School, according to Evans.
   Robinson Construction Co., of Bend, is building the $5.5 million facility. In May, Robinson Construction, the only bidder, submitted an $8.2 million bid for the project, and was rejected by the MAC board.
   The board went back to the architect, Opsis Architecture, of Portland, for a cost-cutting redesign, and rebid the project. During a second round of bidding in December, with seven companies submitting bids, Robinson Construction was the low bidder at $5,349,000.
   With such a low bid, the MAC board was able to add back numerous features, including: solar heating system, $98,000; deck on exterior building with a concrete foundation, $29,000; aluminum frame skylights for the locker rooms, $26,000; monument sign for site, $16,500; folding partition to separate activity rooms, $13,000; roller window shades, $6,600; and a display case, $5,500.
   This week, Robinson Construction is putting up the concrete masonry walls. "Work's been going smoothly," said Greg Van Dyke, project engineer.
   "They're putting up the CMU (concrete masonry unit) walls," he said. "That'll take close to six weeks. Then we will be putting up the steel structure."
   The pool, purchased from Myrtha Pools, of Italy, will be on its way to Oregon in the next couple of months, Van Dyke said.
   "The pool contractor we bring on board will do the pool mechanical installation and pool installation," he said. Wayne M. Smith and Associates, of Ellensburg, Wash., is the certified pool installer.
   The exterior of the aquatic center will feature concrete masonry, structural steel and wood," Van Dyke noted.
   The company plans to complete the MAC by the end of December, and turn it over to the MAC board by the beginning of January.
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