Neighborgall Construction
1216 7th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
304.525.5181 | fax: 304.525.7795



Monday January 14, 2013
Marshall board approves moving visual arts center downtown
by Dave Boucher
Daily Mail Staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Setting up shop in a historic building in downtown Huntington should be beneficial for Marshall University, the city and the local economy, said Marshall President Stephen Kopp. 

The university plans to move its College of Fine Arts Visual Arts Center to the former Stone & Thomas building, located on 3rd Avenue across the street from Pullman Square.   "We feel very strongly the buildings in that area need to be a showpiece for the city," Kopp said Friday in a phone interview.   "When you look at the fact that hundreds of Marshall University students are going to be located and taking class down there . . . it brings a lot of foot traffic to the downtown areas," he continued.

Last week, the board of governors voted to award Huntington-based Neighborgall Construction the contract for the project. Its roughly $10.9 million base bid was the least expensive of the seven companies vying for the project.   The currently vacant, seven-story building is slated to cater to more than just students when it opens 14 months from now. The bottom floor will serve as a "front porch" of sorts, said Matt Turner, Kopp's chief of staff: The gallery space in this area will give students and local artists the chance to display their work and interact.   There will be traditional classrooms, labs and more on the remaining floors, he said.    "The arts center offers an invigorating place accessible to our entire region - a community hungry for cultural expression, enrichment, and pertinent dialogue that engages its citizenry," Turner said in an email. Kopp sees great potential with the project, for his university and the community.  

The building is expected to hold 400 to 500 students plus however many faculty are needed, Kopp said. That's great for Marshall because right now, its current digs on campus are too crowded to accommodate any more visual arts majors, Kopp said.   Kopp said he didn't know the program's current enrollment but expected that number to double within five years of moving to the downtown location.

The city of Huntington and the local business community are very excited about the project, Kopp said. Huntington is providing $400,000 toward the renovations, and there are several businesses asking about partnerships. Kopp said it was too early to announce what businesses have expressed interest, but he is confident the programs will create a positive link between students and the professional community.   Art-based projects located in the hearts of cities have helped jumpstart revitalization efforts across the country, and Kopp is optimistic this project could have a similar effect on the continued growth of Huntington. "It creates very well-defined connection between the university and the downtown community," Kopp said. "And importantly, the location in the Pullman Square area is one of the marquee locations in the downtown area."

The university bought the building in August 2010 for $750,000, Turner said. The project is expected to cost roughly $13 million. That's about $800,000 more than the estimates made when the project was designed two years ago, but Kopp said it won't impede progress.   In November 2011, the university issued $9 million worth of revenue bonds. Marshall was already in the process of retiring other bonds, so the university can use traditional revenue streams like tuition to refund these bonds, Turner said.   Private donations will cover the rest. Kopp is confident the fundraising won't be an issue.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

State awards $11.6 million contract for education center at tech park

by G eorge Hohmann

Daily Mail Business Editor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An $11.6 million contract has been awarded to The Neighborgall Construction Co. of Huntington for construction of an education center at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park.

The contract for what will be known as the Advantage Valley Advanced Technology Center was awarded on Aug. 1,said James Skidmore, chancellor of the state community and technical college system.  "We hope that in less than 18 months we'll have it done," Skidmore said Tuesday in a presentation to the South Charleston Economic Development Committee at Little Creek Country Club.  "Three community colleges -- Bridgemont, Mountwest and Kanawha Valley -- will be working out of it," Skidmore said. "It is a beautiful building."

The center will be erected where Building 701 once stood, near the park's Kanawha Turnpike entrance.  The project is more than a year behind schedule. It was originally hoped a construction contract would be awarded in May 2011. Bids were finally opened in September, but all came in over budget. The design was re-worked, the project was re-bid, and new bids were opened March 15.  "The important thing is, it is under way now," Skidmore said.

Four or five core courses will be offered in the building, including electrical and mechanical instrumentation classes and chemical operator classes.  Paul Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, last year described the center as "a community college but at an advanced level. The center will train chemical operators and offer classes in engineering, computer science -- all for advanced certificates. This is the workforce development portion of the plan for the park."

Skidmore said the top priority in designing the building was to make it flexible enough to accommodate any training program needed.  For example Gestamp, the company that is scheduled to re-open the mammoth stamping plant in South Charleston this month, could have a training program at the center for "six days, six weeks or six months," with the space then reverting to other uses, Skidmore said.  "We can use this space to meet the workforce needs of this region," he said. "Flexibility was Priority 1. We looked at others and that's what they said."

A large number of employers in the Kanawha Valley were consulted about what programs would be useful at the center, Skidmore said. "The companies said they need certificated workers, so we will put the Cisco Academy here that's currently at Bridgemont Community and Technical College as well as other certifications.  "This building has been employer driven," he said.

Thursday July 19, 2012

State Supreme Court chamber gets makeover
by Jared Hunt
Daily Mail Capitol Reporter

Call it a reversed decision.  This week, contractors from Huntington yanked up the aging red carpet in the state Supreme Court chamber as part of a project to restore the courtroom to its original design.

Decades ago, the court replaced Capitol architect Cass Gilbert's original Portuguese cork checkerboard flooring with carpet. Now court officials are restoring the room to Gilbert's original design as part of a multi-year project to improve and modernize the high court spaces in the Capitol building.
"We love this courtroom and we're just tickled to death to take it back to the original vision," Supreme Court Clerk Rory Perry said.  A major aspect of the project is restoring the original floor in the courtroom.   When he originally designed the Supreme Court chamber in the late 1920s, Gilbert envisioned a hall "of impressive proportions."   The room's perimeter would be lined with columns of White Vermont marble on bases of black Belgian marble. The floor was to be covered with compressed cork. The bench and all other furnishings were to be made of American Walnut.Crew restoring floor to its original checkerboard look
Gilbert liked the finished product so much that he used West Virginia's Supreme Court chamber as a model when he designed the U.S. Supreme Court chamber in the 1930s.   But some time during the 1940s or 1950s, the state officials decided to do away with the original checkered corkboard and cover the floor with red carpet. No one really knows why.  It has irked Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury for some time.  "You don't put red carpet next to burgundy drapes," Canterbury said. "That's just Decorating 101."
Microphone cables were placed under the carpet. Now permanent conduit has been laid in the cement that will lie under the corkboard flooring.  Those burgundy curtains have been sent out for dry cleaning and minor patchwork while crews work on the floor.  The brass curtain rods, which looked more like aged bronze because of dirt and dust accumulation, have been cleaned to their original shine.  
The original Portuguese manufacturer of the cork flooring is still in business, so officials have decided again to use the checkerboard pattern.   A crew from Huntington-based Neighborgall Construction tore out the carpet on Monday and soon will be installing the corkboard. "It's absolutely, 100 percent an honor to be up here," Neighborgall worker Zack Thompson said.
Canterbury said the court has been slowly remodeling its space in the Capitol's East Wing since 2008. The Supreme Court has financed the projects out of its own budget. Canterbury said the court chamber renovations should cost about $170,000 once the project is complete.  "It's been just a little bit at a time," he said.  Some of the work has been simple, like painting the walls a "Barely Blue" color instead of white to help bring out red shades in the marbling that lines the hallways.
South Charleston furniture maker Ed Hillenbrand was tapped for some woodwork restoration.  Most of Hillenbrand's work so far has been on furniture in the justices' conference room.  Hillenbrand built a new conference room table for justices with an artisan starburst pattern and technological amenities.
Now that justices use laptop computers, Canterbury said there was some concern about using the Capitol's Wi-Fi service in the conference room.  To help prevent hackers from using the Wi-Fi network to get to justices' computers, Hillenbrand wired Ethernet connections through the new conference table to allow for secure, wired connections.  
Patty Stewart of Nitro was brought in to touch up some of the intricate painting that lines the trim and ceiling. The Supreme Court ceiling and trim include subtle combinations of red, gold and blue, among other colors.  Stewart also fixed the "s" in "us" in the Abraham Lincoln quote, "Firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right," in the back of the courtroom.
Canterbury said the paint in that section started to peel in 2008. At the time, he used Elmer's glue for a temporary patch of the softball-size peeling section.  Stewart was able to match the paint so her repair job blends with the original work.
Other work has been to boost security.  On Wednesday, the Capitol Building Commission approved plans to renovate the public entrance to the clerk's office. A new counter will be put in place to block people from private offices.  The design also will make the public entrance consistent with the architecture in the main courtroom.
Canterbury said the goal of the remodeling work is to preserve the architectural vision and capture the solemnity of the court.  "This is a very special place and a very special part of state government," Canterbury said. "This institution protects our constitution and it protects our freedom, so it should be a space that causes reverence."  He said the court also should be something the public can be proud of.  "People believe and understand that this is a part of them, that it's a reflection of themselves," he said. "Just like when people go into churches, while the church is the congregation, not the building, the building is a reflection of the people and the congregation."
Canterbury said court officials want to do their part to keep the Capitol building in top condition. "This is a great old lady of a building, and if we keep it protected and keep it right, this building could be around 1,000 years," he said.

West Virginia Construction News March/April 2012



During this year? CAWV State Meeting, held March 21, 2012, the Safety and Crime Prevention Committee presented the 2011 Safety Awards to members who have exhibited excellence in safety performance and promotion in the workplace.   CAWV members submitted their safety information during the winter months. Safety Committee members carefully evaluated each application, sorting out the industry? safest companies.   Scores are based on a company? documented safety policies and procedures, commitment and approach to safety and health in the workplace and recorded statistical data for the year. Special marks are given to those companies who offer high quality safety training and demand active employee involvement in their safety process.   Finalists are chosen from the contractor and associate members who achieve an excellent performance rating. Awards were presented to only those members that met or exceeded the program criteria. Safety Committee Chairman Scott Coleman, IVS Hydro, Inc., Waverly, oversaw the selection process. He joined Rich Jeffrey, OSHA compliance assistance specialist, to present each recipient? award. The 2011 awards program was revitalized with an array of promotional products for each company to select. The Safety committee also decided to provide each winning company with an awards presentation to their employees honoring their commitment to safety on the job site.

December 12, 2011

New DirecTV Call Center Opens for Business

For the State Journal
The "Help Wanted" sign is up at DirecTV's call center. The firm's new Huntington Customer Service Center has a current staff of 730 employees, but the center has been designed to accommodate approximately 800 employees, and the company is actively recruiting.
The California-based company provides 170 channels of video programming, as well as audio and broadband services, to nearly 20 million customers nationwide.
Its Huntington call center typically handles between 700,000 and a million customer inquiries each month. The Huntington operation had been located in the former Arch Coal building on a hilltop site overlooking the 5th Street Road interchange of Interstate 64 just south of downtown Huntington.
When Mountwest Community & Technical College ?faced with moving from its current campus location ?went site shopping, it picked the Arch Coal building as its first choice for a new home. DirecTV agreed to make way for Mountwest by moving down 5th Street Hill to a long-vacant building that once had housed an Ames department store. Transforming the dilapidated building into a new state-of-the-art call center required an investment of $17.8 million.
The new facility has ergonomic sit/stand work stations, high-tech training stations, a 100-seat auditorium, a fitness center, a game room, cafeteria and break room.
DirecTV officials who spoke at an Oct. 13 grand opening ceremony praised developer Bob Childers of Huntington, the Huntington Area Development Council, the West Virginia Department of Commerce and C. R. Neighborgall Construction Co. for their efforts in working together to make the complex project a reality.
The Huntington call center previously was operated by PRC, a Florida-based company. DirecTV was PRC's sole client. When PRC declared bankruptcy in 2008, DirecTV bought the center for $1.5 million and kept it in operation, thus preserving 500 jobs that the community had feared would be lost as a result of the bankruptcy. Since then, DirecTV has increased the size of its workforce.
"It's quite an accomplishment to go from where we were to where we are today," said Gary Qualls, vice president of customer service for DirecTV



October 06, 2011

MCTC Celebrates Work on New Campus

Beth Hendricks
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- Though no ground was actually broken, a ceremony at Mountwest Community and Technical College on Wednesday represented the same purpose: to kick off the start of the renovation project at the school's new home off 5th Street Road.

The building, former home of both Arch Coal and DirecTV, will feature 115,000 square feet of operating space, 34 classrooms and labs, 650 parking places and easy access to Interstate 64, according to MCTC President Dr. Keith Cotroneo. He called the setting a "true campus environment" for MCTC, something it doesn't have by itself in its current locations, mostly on Marshall University's campus. "Those are all things you can tangibly see," Cotroneo said. "What you can't see is what will be a more skilled and educated workforce, higher income for families, less poverty, stronger business and industry and a stronger tax base. That's what community colleges do for their communities."

Work is already under way on the building, which DirecTV vacated in August. Cotroneo has previously said he anticipates renovations to take 10 months to complete, making it ready for a fall 2012 start. Neighborgall Construction Co. of Huntington was awarded the contract, after submitting the winning bid of $5,530,000 for work on the basement, first and second floors. Neighborgall also had the lowest bids for several alternate projects, including renovations to the third and fourth floors; curb, sidewalk and asphalt repair; painting; and repair work to parking area A.

In March 2010, the West Virginia Senate passed S.B. 499, separating MCTC from Marshall University. MCTC offices and classrooms are currently spread throughout Huntington, including on Marshall's campus, a culinary institute on 8th Avenue and administrative offices at Pullman Square and above Latta's on 4th Avenue. James L. Skidmore, chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, said Wednesday's ceremony is not only representative of the progress of Mountwest, but of the community and technical college system statewide. "It has been a long, hard road, and this is a huge step in the right direction," said Skidmore, who presented a symbolic key to the Mountwest campus to Cotroneo. "This is a key to the futures of a lot of people."

The ceremony included congratulations from representatives of Sen. Joe Manchin and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, as well as state Sen. Bob Plymale. "Today is truly a great day for Mountwest, Cabell County and the entire state," said Sara Scarbro, reading a letter from Manchin. "Whether it is career and technical education or lifelong learning in the Tri-State, Mountwest delivers."

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