By Bobby Bordelon\r\n\r\nDespite the recent installation of a steel superstructure for the upcoming Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center, an update from the organizers from Sunday, Feb. 7, detailed the impacts of COVID-19 market changes on the project. This includes construction delays and the need for an additional $600,000 in fundraising before the project can be completed.\r\n\r\nAlthough planned as a live event initially, a heavy weekend snowfall turned the Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center\u2019s Drive-In Celebration into an exclusively online event. Organizers Jamie Hamilton and TAG Galyean explained the current outlook of construction, and noted much of the groundwork is already completed.\r\n\r\n\u201cSo what you see now, if you go out and take a look, \u2026 is the high-roof steel structure,\u201d said Galyean. \u201cThis is the structure in which the pool on the east end of that is the competition pool, on the west end [are] the recreation pool and the therapy pool. The next thing that will happen, if the weather allows us to start this week, is the high-roof area will begin to be roofed. \u2026 It\u2019s on site, ready to be paid for and erected.\u201d\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_53379" align="alignleft" width="466"]<img class="wp-image-53379 " src="https:\/\/mountainmessenger.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2021\/02\/vtguybhnjokml-300x170.png" alt="" width="466" height="264" \/> Gaylean (left) and Hamilton (right)[\/caption]\r\n\r\nDespite the positive progress, the need for more fundraising was also announced.\r\n\r\n\u201cCOVID has created a number of challenges and the cost increase of a lot of things is right at the top of that list,\u201d said Hamilton. \u201cThe projections our board has made now, thinking of every possible conceivable expense this project will face at this date and beyond, we\u2019re looking at about a 13 percent cost increase relative to what we originally expected. \u2026 That is equivalent to about an $800,000 increase in what we expect this facility to cost.\u201d\r\n\r\nOf this needed $800,000, about $220,000 has already been raised as a result of calls to private investors. The newly announced Enhancer program is a potential solution to raising the rest.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe are introducing our Enhancer program,\u201d Hamilton explained. \u201cWe had Founder, Closer, and now Enhancer. \u2026 Essentially, our founders and naming partners contributed the first $3 million to get this off the ground, our closers represented the last $3 million, and we believe the enhancers will now tackle the last $800,000 to make sure that we get this across the finish line and do this exactly the right way.\u201d\r\n\r\nGaylean also noted the increased costs are a direct result of the pandemic.\r\n\r\n\u201cQuality was not reduced in order to contain costs,\u201d Galyean said. \u201cWe were only looking for redundancy and efficiency and contribution. What we\u2019re building is state of the art - water quality, air quality will be as good as anyone knows how to do it.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe COVID-19 pandemic\u2019s effects on the project not only included the increasing costs of construction materials, but also delayed the start of the project.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis process, of course, started in March  and we were as surprised as everyone else with the environment we were dealt to work in with COVID,\u201d Galyean said. \u201cWhat happened is we have engineers coordinating structural and civil engineering issues and they\u2019re working from home. We had construction workers that just were uncomfortable working for the first 60 days [of the pandemic]. That delayed the start of site work. \u2026 We had a delay to starting. We are moving at a slower pace than you would in a normal environment, and you are experiencing delays in receiving materials and increased costs of certain materials.\u201d\r\n\r\nDespite the setbacks, the steel structure is currently coming together and each of the contractors are preparing to jump in.\r\n\r\n\u201cSince our last meeting, we\u2019ve completed all of the construction documents, all the required permits, and we\u2019ve committed to building the aquatic center,\u201d Galyean said. \u201cThere are five prime contractors, it\u2019s a very experienced and first class team. \u2026 The architectural and engineering side is being handled by Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates\u2019. \u2026 The site and civil engineering work by Terradon, .... Site construction by Lynch Construction, \u2026 foundations and general construction by Radford and Radford. \u2026 Steel erection is by Sons and Seebert. They\u2019re running the job at this particular moment. \u2026 Once the building is contained, Greenbrier Electric and Southern Air will begin their work inside of the building.\r\n\r\nAccording to Galyean, \u201cwith the pace that we\u2019re on,\u201d the Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center will open sometime in early September. This would also include interviewing for staff positions sometime in July of this year.\r\n\r\nHamilton and Galyean both thanked the community for it\u2019s ongoing efforts in creating the recreational, therapeutic, and competitive swimming center.\r\n\r\n\u201cAs much as we were excited to have you for a drive-in event, we\u2019re excited to have you,\u201d Hamilton said. \u201c\u2026 A big part of today is to celebrate everyone who has been so instrumental in making this happen. Many of you have been supporters and followers way back to the folks that got naming opportunities in the Founder program. \u2026 It is amazing to me that people were willing to support what was essentially an idea.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo keep up with the latest from the Aquatic Center, follow the Mountain Messenger and the Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center on Facebook.