The Times West Virginian

December 29, 2013

Construction of state office complex on schedule

Stair and elevator shaft and retaining walls of downtown Fairmont structure completed

By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The construction of the new state office complex on Adams Street is moving along on schedule and on budget, according to Richard Forren, a partner with the Fairmont architecture firm of Omni Associates that is working on the project.

Forren said the project is expected to be completed in February 2015. The new building will be 80,000 square feet and four stories tall.

PJ Dick Inc., a general contracting and construction company headquartered in Pittsburgh, was awarded the contract to build the complex for $17.2 million in August.

Forren said the construction team is working hard to keep to the timeline.

“They’re doing a very good job of trying to maintain the schedule,” Forren said.

Forren said that while they are on time now, weather could cause delays this winter.

“Pouring concrete and laying masonry are all weather dependent,” Forren said. “But when the weather turns nice, PJ Dick does a very nice job of making up time and putting the project back on schedule.”

To try and prevent delays, Forren said they are working hard to enclose the building as soon as possible.

“In the coming months, what we’d like to be able to do is get the building enclosed, and then a lot of work can take place inside the building without allowing the weather to affect it or hinder the schedule,” Forren said.

“The stair and elevator shaft are complete. Steel is due to arrive the first week of January, and the retaining walls are complete. We’re pouring the mechanical room and are just waiting for some mechanical equipment to arrive, and we’ll be set before the building becomes enclosed,” Forren said.

Forren said the goal with this building was to bring as many state agencies as possible to downtown Fairmont to be housed within the complex.

“That particular block was deteriorated except for a couple of businesses located there, so it will certainly impact that area of town,” Forren said. “When the state office building closed, a lot of those agencies scattered in all directions, and this pulls them back to the downtown area.”

Agencies planning to move into the complex once it is completed include the Department of Health and Human Resources, the state Tax Department, the state Insurance Commission, Rehabilitative Services, the Secretary of State’s office and WorkForce West Virginia.

The building will be LEED certified as energy efficient, Forren said. The certification comes in different levels, and while Forren said they are expecting to reach silver certification, their goal is to be awarded gold.

In February 2009, the state Department of Administration decided to close the West Virginia State Office Complex on the other end of Adams Street due to structural problems. In April 2010, Marion County acquired the Fairmont Theater property on the 400 block of Adams Street for $200,000.

The Marion Regional Development Corp. worked to acquire the land needed for the project that wasn’t already owned by the city or county, and Fairmont’s Reclaim Inc. began demolition of the 400 block beginning in September 2012.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.