WVU-P board presented armory designs

PARKERSBURG – West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s Board of Governors got a first look at conceptual plans for the campus’ proposed West Virginia National Guard Armory readiness center Wednesday evening.

Lt. Col. David Shafer, construction and facilities management officer for the West Virginia Army National Guard, and Adam Krason, project designer for ZMM, spoke with board members Wednesday evening. Officials presented the board with a conceptual design of the project, focusing primarily on Phase I of the design – the activity center.

“Nothing is fixed,” Krason said. “We are in the design process, but we have a conceptual design.”

Krason said the open floor plan, which features retractable bleachers, can seat 3,500 people, 1,800 in a banquet-style format or accommodate 170 booths for a trade show.

“Athletics, gatherings, trade shows. It’s a multipurpose use,” Shafer said.

“It’s a wide open space, totally flexible,” Krason said.

Phase I of the project is estimated to cost about $13 million. Krason said at this stage it’s best to figure the cost at $225 per square foot. The building is projected to be 57,992 square foot.

Officials said at this point the design is only conceptual.

“Nothing is locked in,” Krason said.

Phase II and III will be Guard portions of the project – the readiness center and field maintenance center. Krason said the entire project will cost about $40 million.

Officials do not expect construction on the site to start until 2014. The timeframe is not a surprise. Since the project was announced in 2011, officials maintained it would be several years before the concept became a reality.

Shafer said funding issues will drive the project. He anticipated the Guard would begin to contribute federal funding in 2014.

“We can start turning dirt in 2014?” board member Joe Campbell asked.

“Yes,” Shafer said. “This early in the design it is time and budget driven.”

Campbell asked if the first phase of the project included all infrastructure, parking and road access for the center. Officials said most of that was included.

“There are a lot of decisions to be made between conceptual design and construction,” Krason said.

Shafer said it was a challenging time for the federal government in this time of fiscal uncertainty.

“We are working to get funding to match your schedule,” he said.