Foundation stone laid at Hyvän Olon Keskus

Construction work well under way in Pudasjärvi, Nothern Finland.

The largest construction project in the history of the City of Pudasjärvi, Nothern Finland, Hyvän Olon Keskus got its foundation stone on Monday 28 October in front of about 50 honoured guests. The participants of the event assembled at Log Campus where a bus was waiting to bring them to the construction site. The concrete foundation stone, heated cement and the steel cylinder to be laid in the foundation stone were waiting at the site.

In the cylinder, Mayor Tomi Timonen and YIT’s Regional Director Marko Palonen placed recent newspapers from the area, modern coins as well as the foundation documents of the demolished Kurenala school and the new Hyvän Olon Keskus, which Timonen read to the guests. The work on the foundation stone was started by Mayor Timonen and then continued by Regional Manager Palonen. Next came the chairs of the town board and council, vice-chairs and the partners taking part in the construction project.

There was enough cement for anyone who wished to make their mark on the building’s history, and the representatives of Kontio Log Houses, for example, took a group photo at the event. Finally, YIT’s Site Manager Niko Stenius and the construction crew filled the foundation stone with the rest of the mortar.

“At the moment, we have 18 builders working at the construction site. At the time of the topping out ceremony next year, there’ll be about 100 workers,” says Marko Palonen.

Celebration at Log Campus

After the foundation stone had been laid, Chair of the Town Council Mari Kälkäjä opened the festivities at the Log Campus. After her speech, the Town of Pudasjärvi treated the guests to a lunch of sautéed reindeer. Representing the client of the construction project, Mayor Tomi Timonen told the guests about the town’s log construction, started 10 years ago with the Karhu/Hirsikunnas project.

“Since then, the story of our Log Capital has continued with several construction projects. Pudasjärvi has been a pioneer of timber construction. Now, we are seeing the largest construction project in the history of the town, and log was the obvious choice. Other log construction projects are also being planned for the near future: there will be housing for the elderly near the marketplace, an apartment building project in front of the town hall and an ice stadium project for 2022–2023. The snow arena and traffic arrangements are about to be completed in Syöte. A number of private construction projects are also nearing completion in Syöte, and more are under way,” says Timonen.

Solution for indoor air issues

In her speech, Chair of the Town Board Anni-Inkeri Törmänen stated that the nature of the construction project originated from the indoor air issues experienced in several town buildings. Such issues are also prevalent in many public buildings around Finland. 

“The public log buildings already completed in Pudasjärvi are great examples of a successful and sustainable solution to indoor air issues. Log construction is also an ideal solution when it comes to environmental requirements as one kilogramme of wood binds two kilogrammes of airborne carbon dioxide. The oils contained in pine can also suppress bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections and retain this capacity for decades,” says Törmänen.

“Pudasjärvi serves as a bold example in timber construction and the use of the PPP model in construction projects. After a 20-year service life, the building is still in first-rate condition. A healthy building also brings together skilled and motivated workers,” says Marko Palonen from YIT.

According to Palonen, the blasting work at the construction site is now over. The foundation work will be completed this year, and the building process will begin early next year. Palonen emphasises that the goal has been to use as many local workers, subcontractors and services as possible.

Funding model sets a great example

According to Financing Manager Daniel Eriksson, MuniFin is already funding its third site in Pudasjärvi with a property leasing PPP agreement.

“The agreement stipulates that the properties do not accrue maintenance backlog, and these funding models have served and will serve as great examples for all Finnish municipalities,” says Eriksson.

Chief Physician Tuula Saukkonen from Oulunkaari, Head of Library Services Outi Nivakoski and Exercise and Well-being Coordinator Elina Wachira spoke as users. They were glad that Hyvän Olon Keskus will offer diverse services under one roof, close to each other, enabling even better cooperation.

Second-graders Essi Törmänen, Essi Hanhela and Vilma Hyvärinen gave a musical performance under the name Yllätykselliset as presented by the host of the event, Director of Culture and Education Juha Holappa.

Extensive construction project

The construction of the largest project in the history of Pudasjärvi, the multifunctional centre built of log, will be conducted in cooperation between the Town of Pudasjärvi and YIT. The Hyvän Olon Keskus building will be implemented using the PPP model and covers facilities for healthcare, rehabilitation, social services, culture and youth services as well as a library and three business facilities. The building will also have an auditorium for 300 people, conference rooms and three business premises. The gross area of the project is 9,300 m2 and the total value is about EUR 43 million. The project is funded by MuniFin’s leasing funding. The construction work started in August 2019, and the multifunctional centre is planned to be completed in September 2021.  

Text and photos Heimo Turunen

Work site photo City of Pudasjärvi/Juha Nyman