By Paul T. Choate
March 4, 2013. The “new” AppalCART facility, which construction began on in the summer of 2009, is finally “in the home stretch,” according to AppalCART Director Chris Turner. Following problems with the original contractor, Greene Construction has taken over the project and anticipates a completion of May 2013.
Arden-based McCarroll Construction was originally awarded the job, but ran into many setbacks over the past couple of years due to financial issues.
“We had a period there with McCarroll Construction where they had sort of terminated their relationship by walking off the job,” Turner said.
The bonding company over the project, Liberty Mutual Insurance, took over control of the job in September 2012 and began the process of selecting a new contractor. Boone-based Greene Construction was initially brought in to assist with getting the building heated for the winter, Turner said, and they were awarded a contract to finish the facility in mid-December.
“[The project has] had more turns than a Victorian novel, but I think we’re in the home stretch now hopefully,” Turner said.
Turner said Liberty Mutual has paid all the subcontractors what they were owed from McCarroll Construction and they are back working on getting the heating system in place. Once finished, the facility will have a solar panel heating system, but for now they are relying on proane.
“Pretty soon we ought to be able to heat a lot of the building with solar and use the propane as a back up, but right now the propane is doing it all,” Turner said.
The new facility will feature a floor lift and a new set of mobile lifts, in addition to a set of mobile lifts already at the old facility, giving them the ability to work on three buses at once. Turner said this will help to not get backed up on maintenance. He also said the new facility will feature a much larger wash bay, which will be able to wash some of their newer buses that are too large for the wash bay at their current facility.
“A new facility will help with a lot of things because we will have more space and better working conditions for our mechanics to apply their trade,” Turner said. “Everybody seems to be pulling in the same direction at the moment and hopefully if all goes well we’ll be in this thing shortly after the semester ends at Appalachian State.”
The project’s total price tag comes in just shy of $5.7 million, Turner said, adding that around $650,000 is left on the contract at present.
Greene Construction has until the end of May to finish the facility and Turner said he hopes AppalCART will be able to begin moving into the new facility by mid- to late May.
“We’ve all been ready for three years,” Turner said. “I thought I’d been in the home stretch for three years running, so we’ll see how it goes. But I’m really thinking this will be it.”