Work begins on Vidaila center addition

Published 12:06 am Saturday, December 8, 2007

VIDALIA — Construction workers moved quickly to pour the slab for what will be the newest addition to the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center Friday.

The construction is part of the center’s phase II project, in which offices have already been added to what was an unfinished wing of the building’s interior.

During the second half of this phase, a Red Cross emergency evacuation shelter is being constructed on the north end of the building.

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With the laying of the slab, construction should pick up its pace, Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said.

“Once you get the slab down, you can really start working pretty quickly,” he said.

Construction on the project will hopefully be completed by April, Vidalia Marketing Director Glen McGlothin said.

“As soon as this slab cures, they can start doing steel work and begin putting up walls,” McGlothin said.

The addition will extend the length of the convention center approximately 107 feet.

“All totaled, that will make it about 40,000 square feet,” McGlothin said.

The center currently has a catering kitchen, but a full-size commercial kitchen, as well as showering and toilet facilities, will be added with the new construction.

When not in use, the evacuation shelter will be used for convention space, McGlothin said.

“We will utilize that space for conventions, but if there is a hurricane, the conference center can use that area for an evacuation center so we can put the evacuees in one spot,” McGlothin said.

“Last time (in 2005), we had to scatter them (evacuees) out around 15 different places, but this will give them a chance to stay in one safe, comfortable setting,” he said.

The phase II construction for the facility is being built with state and federal grants, and will be completed at a cost of $8.2 million.