This spring, as most of post sits quiet and empty due to the coronavirus pandemic, construction is the one aspect that’s continued to move forward regardless. Work on the Preston Library and Scott Shipp Hall renovation projects is right on track, as is construction of a new headquarters for the VMI Post Police.
“Everybody’s working the same schedule,” said Col. Keith Jarvis ’82, director of construction, in early April. “The contractors haven’t reported any impact from COVID-19. Nobody’s shut their doors.”
Contractors, though, have been taking extra precautions on their job sites. The contractors have set up hand sanitizing stations, and they’re wiping down commonly used surfaces such as handrails and tools that are used by multiple workers. Workers aren’t required to wear face masks, though some choose to do so.
“There’s a lot of precautions taken by the contractors themselves,” said Jarvis. “Each company has put in place their own revised rules for the work site.”
Future projects seem to be unimpeded by the pandemic. VMI’s next big-ticket undertaking, construction of a $44 million aquatics center to be built adjacent to the Corps Physical Training Facility, is on track. Funds for its construction have already been approved by the General Assembly.
“We’re still set to break ground in mid- to late June,” Jarvis reported.
Having cadets away from post earlier than expected has allowed the construction office to push forward the timetable on two projects and begin them now rather than wait until summer.
The first involves relocating a retaining wall at the intersection of Parade Avenue and Anderson Drive, near the George C. Marshall Foundation building. “We’re going to push that wall back about seven feet to improve visibility,” Jarvis explained. “With the increased traffic through Jordan’s Point, we wanted to do this to improve the line of sight.”
The second involves work on an underground steam line beneath Burma Road between the Post Hospital and Carroll Hall.
“We wanted to do it when there’s little to no impact to the buildings,” Jarvis commented.
Mary Price VMI Communications & Marketing