By Kim Walter
Through the recent months of up and down weather, construction on Lord Fairfax Community College's student union building is still on track.
Chris Boies, vice president of financial and administrative services, said construction will be completed by mid-December. After the building and move-in are complete, he said the facility will be open for the Spring 2014 semester, which should start during the second week of January.
Boies credits the contractor, W.M. Jordan Company of Newport News, with keeping the project up to speed.
"I don't want to jinx it, but they really have managed to work through the weather we've gotten," he said Wednesday afternoon. "I remember a couple months ago when we had the late snow, they had employees out working on the site in 15 degree weather while we were shoveling snow off our sidewalks."
So far, the design and vision for the 32,000-square-foot building hasn't changed either. Boies said a lot of time was given early on for stakeholders to voice input on the design, which has helped as the building has slowly taken shape.
Construction started last November. The building is set to include a fitness center, exercise rooms, classrooms, food service area and café, an expanded bookstore and student life offices.
Boies said the roof is currently being set, and since steel is still exposed and a large crane is in use daily, tours probably will be put off until a later date.
"It's neat because the public can actually see a lot of the progress from the road or even from some of the buildings on campus," he said. "There are limited visits to the site right now, but I'm sure once the outside gets closed in people will really get curious to see what's going on."
Overall, Boise said it was "weird to say" how well the project was going, especially since he's managed a number of projects.
"I'm definitely familiar with delays and changes, but this is good," he said of the current project status.
On the financial end, the LFCC Education Foundation has a plan to finance the $10 million project. Loans have been taken out from two banks, and the foundation plans to pay off the debt over a 10-year period using income from the center's food service, bookstore and possibly from renting the facility out to other agencies.
Additionally, $3 million has been set as a fund-raising goal to help with the cost.
Liv Heggoy, director of development at the college, said staff has been working very hard to raise money to support the student union.
"I'm really optimistic that we'll have great news to share at the ribbon cutting in January," she said. "When I talk to donors, especially alumni, they get it. They totally understand why we're building a student union."
Heggoy said a lot of donors see the importance of having such a center, since the interest in attending a community college has increased. She said it's not hard to explain why the center will only have a positive impact on the LFCC experience.
Many naming opportunities exist, beginning at the $25,000 level to name a classroom. A donor appreciation wall will be designed to recognize gifts between $1,000 and $10,000.
"I don't want to speak too soon, but I think we're on track with the support we've gotten so far," Heggoy said. "It's very exciting."
To learn more about the project and how to contribute, go to www.lfccfoundation.org.
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or firstname.lastname@example.org