Marlinton construction projects moving along
Two highly-anticipated construction projects in Marlinton are in full swing. The Marlinton depot reconstruction project is coming along without any snags, according to Tom Shaffer, of Allegheny Restoration.
“We're pretty much where we planned to be. We've got all the walls set, the BC [exterior-grade] plywood on the outside, my painters came in and put the first coat of primer on, we got all the rafters set last week, and we should have the sheeting and paper on it today — so it should be covered up for the next rainstorm,” laughed Shaffer.
Shaffer said some of the salvaged material that's going to be used to restore one end of the building will be arriving soon from a trim shop in Beckley.
“The piece they sent me back looks nice. They've done a good job with it. This [Route 39 end] here will look original,” explained Shaffer. “We're using the old lumber, putting the original trim work on and everything.”
According to Shaffer, only the exterior of the building will be completed this year.
Marlinton mayor Joe Smith said he was appointed as a liaison for the project, and he stops by the job site just about every day.
“I'm on the board of directors for the depot and I have a big interest in it, not financially, but an interest in seeing the thing be rebuilt,” explained Smith.
Smith said the windows and doors have arrived and painting will begin on the depot as soon as he gets paint samples to the workers. Smith said the former office building, farthest from Route 39, will be open soon, and he hopes the entire project will be complete early next year.
“Hopefully within a month, the upper building — the restroom building — will be open to the public.
Our goal right now is to have the depot opening by Pioneer Days next year. If we have a mild winter and we can begin early enough, it might be Memorial Day,” said Smith.
Smith said once construction is wrapped up, the Convention and Visitors Bureau will be operating a visitors center out of the depot.
“It will be a manned-visitor information center,” said Smith. “In the summertime, it'll be staffed seven days a week. In the wintertime, it might only be manned on weekends.”
Smith said he was pleased that the [Marlinton] Woman's Club took on a related project recently.
“The Woman's Club took on the caboose and boxcar painting project,” said Smith. “They're gonna clean them up and paint them. They're providing volunteer help — which we're in need of. I think they're gonna begin next week.”
Smith said he knows the railcars don't look good, but getting the depot building rebuilt took priority. He said he's thankful the local civic organization stepped up to help.
“They weren't damaged in the fire, they're just weathered from lack of maintenance on 'em,” commented Smith. “The Woman's Club came forward and said they'd like to do it. We're gonna furnish the materials, the paint and what not, and they're gonna do the labor.
Smith said he expects quality work from the volunteers.
“I know these women, when they put their minds to something, they'll do a good job with it,” said Smith.
According to Lauren Bennett, director of Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation, the new Wellness Center in town is also coming along well.
“Everything is pretty well on schedule,” said Bennett. “The foundation is in place, the slab has been poured. The metal structure should start arriving at the end of September and they're anticipating the building being up in November. The structure should be up in time that they can do interior work throughout the winter, and I think they're anticipating finishing everything in June.”
Bennett said her organization is still seeking private donations for the facility. She said some amenities had to be removed from the budget, and she's in the process of raising money to get those items back in the overall plan.
“With the grant we got, we had funds for construction,” explained Bennett. “The first bid came in a million dollars higher than we had. So we did some major changes. We went from a brick building to a metal structure. A little bit of a reduction in square footage, but not a whole lot.”
“Then with the second bid, it came in about $200,000 higher than what we had. So, with that, we took out some things that were not absolutely necessary — like the bleachers. You can play basketball without bleachers,” said Bennett.
Bennett said they've raised about $90,000 in private donations so far, and they've had a couple unexpected breaks. Bennett said Boxley Materials Company in Mill Point gave them a great price on all the fill stone used for the foundation.
Bennett said Marlinton Elementary School students will use part of the new facility during the day-time.
“The gymnasium will be used by the students for their PE classes during the school day until about 3:30. At that point, it'll be open to the public through the evening and on weekends, and the rest of the building will be open to the public throughout the day.”
Bennett said operating hours aren't set just yet, but she's hoping the center will be open all day, every day. Bennett said the Wellness Center will offer the community something it's never had before.
“One of the rooms will have fitness equipment. There will probably be a membership fee for use of the equipment, mainly because there's so much upkeep, and treadmills only have a certain lifespan. Then there'll be a gymnasium to be used as an open-gym kind of thing. Hopefully we'll get programs going like adult volleyball, adult basketball, different inter-mural after-school stuff for different ages. Indoor soccer, badminton, who knows?”
Bennett said Parks and Rec already hosts programs and classes, but the new facility will provide a centralized location once it's up and running.
“There'll be two multi-purpose rooms. Where in the past, we've used the library for a quilting class or the middle school for a drama class — now, we should be able to house a lot of that right here. We've done probably every class you could possibly imagine in the 20 years I've done this job — sign language, cooking, dog obedience, we've tried all kinds of things.”
Bennett said the contractor has been really easy to work with.
“Even when we found a surprise waterline that needed to be moved, or a power line that we hadn't counted on, they were great,” said Bennett.
Jim Luchsinger, superintendent for Kyle Construction, said they've gotten a lot of work done, and everything is going well.
“The foundation is completely in, all the floor slabs are in, except for the office,” Luchsinger said. “We're gonna start laying block Monday around the office, the steps are done out back. On the 24th [of September] the metal should arrive. There's supposed to be three truck loads of steel here Monday morning — then we'll start seeing some progress — when we start erecting the building. That's when people will start gettin' excited, when they see the steel going up. They'll see we're finally doing something.”
Luchsinger said they haven't had any problems, and some local workers on the jobsite have helped a lot.
“We got some good guys, Danny Beverage and Mike Garber and all them — good guys to work with, they do nice work,” he said.
Luchsinger said the facility will be an all-metal building, and, once it's up, it'll look nice. He said he anticipates finishing next summer.
“If everything goes well, and the creek don't rise between now and June,” said Luchsinger.