“We’re happy with the progress,” said Admiral Clyde Marsh, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs in Montgomery. “We’re moving about as fast as we can.”
Marsh was in Pell City Thursday for his regular briefing on the progress of the $50 million construction project.
The 254-resident veterans home sits on 27 acres adjacent to the new St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital, north of Interstate 20. The hospital is expected to be completed in November.
Marsh said the hospital sort of overshadows the construction of the veterans home, but that’s just for now.
“I think once we get everything finished, we’ll be the main feature,” he said.
The veterans home has brick walls, steel beams, metal frames and concrete slabs, with wooden beams covering the construction site.
“They started on several buildings at the same time,” Marsh said. “They have brought in necessary construction workers to move this project forward.”
Architect Sean Whitt, with Williams Blackstock Architects of Birmingham, said the home totals 240,000 square feet.
“This is a challenging project,” Whitt said. “It’s a very big job.”
Mark McGraw, project manager with Doster Construction Company of Birmingham, said construction lagged behind at the start because of rain, but because of several weeks of dry weather work has progressed quickly.
“Obviously, the last 6-8 weeks we’ve been able to make up the lost time and get back on the original schedule,” McGraw said.
He said the construction pace is about to pick up even more.
“Right now, we’re in the middle of ramping up operations,” McGraw said.
He said Doster Construction has about 80 workers on the job site.
“In two weeks, we’ll have more than 100 workers out here,” McGraw said.
Marsh said construction of the veterans home should be finished in the summer of 2012.
“We are pretty much on track with our plan,” he said.
The veterans home entrance features a large fireplace, with thick wooden beams overhead. It is the focal point of the massive project.
Officials say the main entrance to the veterans home will look like an upscale hotel or lodge.
“We’re certainly excited to see the progress,” Marsh said.
The new facility is the largest veterans home in Alabama, and the new facility is expected to create 300 jobs.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com.