By Alex Bridges
Warren County Community Center patrons should find plenty of parking space thanks to Randolph-Macon Academy.
Lantz Construction of Winchester finished work to expand and improve the parking lot this week -- well ahead of the contractual completion date of Oct. 22, according to information from Deputy County Administrator Robert Childress.
The $168,880-project called for expanding the parking lot from 30 to 69 spaces. The project increases the number of handicap parking spaces, adds a bike rack and includes landscaping.
Childress said Thursday the contractor has completed paving the lot and installed drainage, curb and gutter on the site. Workers painted lines and symbols Wednesday, Childress said.
The lot did not previously have underground storm drainage sewer and patrons sometimes had to walk through water on the surface during heavy rains. The project included the installation of underground drainage pipes to draw storm water from the property to the street and then into Front Royal's system.
Additional lighting also increases safety in the parking lot for nighttime users. The project included landscaping as required by Front Royal.
Parking came at a premium and the county saw a need to provide more space.
"After we remodeled the old [Samuels] library building and turned it into the community center its use by the community just sort of exploded to the point where we were having almost daily activities, evening events there," Childress said. "We found right away that we simply didn't have ample parking on site."
At busy times many patrons parked on the nearby streets, Childress recalled. The county installed a sidewalks along the street in front of the building last summer as a short-term benefit to users.
County officials found a grassy open space behind the community center not in use that could serve as an expanded parking lot. Engineering work showed the county could at least double the amount of parking at the center by using that space.
Randolph-Macon Academy owned part of the land behind the center. Through negotiations with the county, R-MA agreed to dedicate a 12-foot strip of land behind the center property to the county for the expanded parking lot.
"Without their willingness to dedicate [the land] we probably wouldn't have been able to construct what we did," Childress said. "We're very grateful to the R-MA folks for working with us to make this project a success."
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org