Concrete foundation poured for The Village Green’s new activity building

The concrete foundation for the new activity and events building on The Village Green was poured earlier this month after hitting a much-needed window of dry weather. Once the slab was poured and set, work crews went about sawing the design into the concrete that will be the floor of the new facility located behind the stage used for Groovin’ on the Green.

Construction crews set up lights on the evening of Jan 5 and were using machines like a snowblower but with a long pole attached to a small circular-spinning blade on the end to saw the design into the floor.

Crews used lights and worked into the night using the orange and yellow saws pictured above to saw the design into the concrete floor at The Village Green’s new activity building.

Project Manager Mark Fortenberry said the concrete slab will have a diagonal grid pattern of various sizes appropriate to each room’s area footprint. He added that some of the pattern will be cut deeper to control cracking as the concrete hardens and other diagonal lines will be cut more for visual appearance and at a lesser depth.

“It’s really important we do this right,” said Fortenberry. “Once we’re done here everything but the color will be final.”

Crews were on site early in the morning on Jan. 5 to pour the concrete foundation of the new activity building at The Village Green. Photo by Mark Fortenberry.

The concrete was poured by Highlands Foundations, the building was designed by Atlanta based Chapman Design Group. The principal, Jim Chapman, has designed several projects in the Cashiers-Highlands area. Landscape design work is being coordinated by local designers Renee Byrd and Mary Palmer Dargan.

One of the saws used to carve the design into the concrete floor of the new activity building.

Village Green Executive Director Ann Self said the building will a timber frame construction and features many architectural elements of the area such as poplar bark siding, a single seam metal roof, and a large stacked stone fireplace in the main gathering room. She added that there are ways the community can get involved in the building process.

“The Village Green has several opportunities for public participation in this project,” said Self. “One of these will be a community ‘timber raising’ where members of the community can help construct a part of the building or designate an element as a tribute donation.”

Fortenberry said he expects the timber raising to be sometime in early February.

Some of the diagonal-design work sawn into the floor of the new activity building at The Village Green.

The project is described on The Village Green’s website as a much-needed central indoor arts and culture resource; as well as a community all-weather gathering space to be used for job fairs, blood drives, classes, exhibits, performances, community events, celebrations, etc.

The new facility costs $3 million, but The Village Green has set a goal of raising $3.5 million to refurbish the existing Commons facility. Self said the Village Green has raised $2.5 million toward this goal from private donations and grants.

“Construction (foundation work) began in early August,” said Self. “We anticipate completion by late Summer/early Fall 2019. So far, the weather has not created any significant delay to the projected timeline.”

Self added that the project is designed to benefit the community and steps were taken in the planning process to hire local contractors.

“Another significant aspect of local involvement is the employment of area subcontractors and material and service providers for construction,” she said. “The Village Green made an intentional decision to serve as the general contractor for this project. We made this decision with two objectives. The first objective is to control construction costs in order to be excellent stewards of every donor dollar, and the second was to be able to employ local labor in an effort to contribute to the Cashiers economy.”

Fortenberry has worked in code enforcement in the Jackson County Building Department for eight years and is overseeing construction of this project.

Pictured below is a video of the activity building construction site before the concrete was poured, then after it was poured and the design is sawn into the concrete floor, and then the finished product the next day.

Photo at the top of the article by Mark Fortenberry
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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