By Lyra Bordelon
A foundation is getting ready to be laid for the $6 million Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center project located near the State Fair of West Virginia. With donations and grants funding the entirety of the project, despite the unexpected struggles of COVID-19, it continues to move forward.
In an update from Jamie Hamilton, the GVAC Director of Community and Donor Engagement, he explained that their general contractor, Radford and Radford, has begun work on the building’s foundation, which will be laid over the next few weeks. This can happen now after Lynch Construction finished the phase one site preparation work.
Next in construction is the laying of foundational piers. Once they are in place, the cured-steel superstructure that will support the rest of the building will be installed. With the steel already delivered to the work site, crews just need cooperating weather to keep the construction humming along.
“When this work begins, the shape of the building will come together quickly, providing an exciting glimpse at the size and shape of the GVAC,” wrote Hamilton. “We look forward to sharing photos and videos on our Facebook page to show you the progress!”
The ongoing effects of COVID-19 have also been felt by the team, with higher than expected costs for $6 million project.
“That being said it has presented a few delays and cost increases that we have worked to minimize,” Hamilton said. “We still feel confident that with average weather in the coming months we will remain on track to open by Labor Day 2021. The cost increases, mostly linked to the rise in material pricing seen across many sectors, have presented the need to raise additional funding to ensure that every amenity and resource planned can be present on opening day. As all contracts are finalized, details on this opportunity will be shared in the near future. This will focus on supporting specific projects, amenities, and equipment that can be integrated whenever the support is in place.”
However the increased costs do not appear to affect the timeline for the aquatic center’s opening.
“Please don’t be concerned that this means the opening of the facility is in jeopardy or that the doors will open without essential items in place – that is simply not the case,” Hamilton said, “We’ve always been blown away by the support this project has received, and know that with a little more participation we can address everything we’ve imagined before we open the facility!”
In lieu of a groundbreaking ceremony while West Virginia continues to see daily record breaking COVID-19 numbers, organizers are planning a “safe and socially distant” ceremony to “raise a flag atop the steel structure” once it has been erected. This outdoor, socially distant event is also expected to be streamed virtually so “those who are not comfortable attending in person” can keep crowd sizes low. The time and date of the event will be announced as the project continues to develop.
Hamilton encouraged those who want to be kept up to date on the project visit www.gvaquaticcenter.com and subscribe to their newsletter, or follow them on social media.
“We are very proud that amid the pandemic the development of this long needed facility has continued on,” Hamilton said. “Please continue to follow us on Facebook and watch for future emails with development updates, details on the flag raising event, and other important news. Until that time I wish each of you the best, and can’t wait to be with each of you next year as we open the doors to this wonderful facility!”