ACE Goes Big! New Welcome Center Part I
If you read Scott’s blog “Where did the ACE Welcome Center Go?” a while back you know that the old Welcome Center disappeared. We still haven’t found it, but we had plans to replace it anyway; it was totally inadequate for our needs. As a matter of fact the idea of replacing it had been around for a few years and last year we committed to making it happen.
The idea was to have a welcome center that could accommodate the reservation office downstairs, a large welcome center at ground level with restrooms and administration offices upstairs. How do you do all that and still have an attractive building without breaking the bank? The owners talked about it all summer.
As soon as Gauley Season ended they got serious and started researching designers and manufacturers. It was a lengthy process. And they still hadn’t decided where to put it yet. Obviously it had to be near the front entrance, but where? As all ACE projects go, the building got bigger and bigger. So the place to put it got smaller and smaller.
Finally, after several months of drawing and redrawing ideas, they decided how big it was going to be (a little over 5,000 square feet) and where to put it (at the entrance, close to the lake and parking lot for convenience). Now they had to decide on the design and who would build it. The logical choice was Blue Ridge Log Cabins out of South Carolina, who built some of our deluxe cabins in the past. So the order was made.
Site preparation fell to ACE’s crew. They excavated the huge hole, and trenched the power, water and sewer lines. They built the framework for the foundation. They also trenched in the lines for the new green, geothermal heating and cooling system you can read about in Christy’s blog “ACE Goes Green with Geothermal Energy.”
Next the concrete and block work was farmed out to a professional crew who did an excellent job working in the hard winter. The weather made things difficult but crews got everything ready for the delivery of the huge cabin, which was brought in on flat trailers, in sections.
The big day arrived. Everything was in place. Blue Ridge had a crew of about 12 people and All Crane, out of Charleston, W.Va., was ready to lift the pieces in place with their giant crane. There were six large sections to be lifted plus all the roofing material. You can watch the slideshow of how day one progressed; it was an amazing sight to watch these crews erect a 5,400 square foot cabin in four to five hours.
Watch for Part II of this blog and see what the welcome center looks like finished.
What do you think of the new building?