Construction of New Grand Vue Park Swimming Pool Continues

Construction of New Grand Vue Park Swimming Pool Continues

Construction of the new, larger swimming pool at Grand Vue Park continues with the project’s first concrete pour happening this week.

The park made the announcement on its social media to the delight of its patrons. The pool is replacing the park’s current facility and will be much larger.

The park decided to replace its current pool to make a bigger one to accommodate the increasing number of guests arriving there. The addition of the park’s new RV park last summer was also part of that decision.

Construction of the new pool by Lombardi Construction of Follansbee began last July. It will also feature a rock climbing wall, diving board, two slides, water walks, basketball hoops and other water tools, according to park information.

The new pool’s designer was Martin Aquatic of Florida.

“Located in a nature and adventure park that overlooks the Ohio River Valley, the Grand Vue Park Aquatic Center will feature a 7,500-square-foot pool that offers activities and excitement for every age level,” according to the Martin Aquatic website.

“Thrill-seekers can test their mettle on the 21-foot-tall dual slide tower, the lilypad rope walk or the three-sided basketball hoop. Families with young children can enjoy the zero-entry end of the pool with spraying toys.

“Three traditional lap lanes are in the rectangular side of the pool, which reaches as deep as 11 feet and allows for a 1-meter diving board and a challenging aquatic rock climbing wall.

“For this project’s pool area, Martin Aquatic provided concept design services and hydraulic, structural, filtration, and chemical system design and engineering services.”

General Manager Craig White said previously the old pool was well attended by families with younger children, but not many teenagers used it. With it being larger and there being more water features, he anticipates more teens will frequent it.

Much like the old pool, the new pool will have a beach-style entry for those who do not want to use a ladder to get in and out. There will also be a handicapped chair lift for those who need it.

The pool closed in 2021 during construction of the RV Park. Because the pool was closed the park offered customers passes to other local pools instead.

The park anticipates selling pool passes closer to when the facility is ready to open, which is expected to happen for the Summer 2023 swimming season.

Weirton Chamber awards Christmas parade trophies

Weirton Chamber awards Christmas parade trophies

WEIRTON — The Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the award recipients for this year’s Weirton Christmas Parade, which was held Nov. 27 with a theme of “Weirton Wonderland.”

Trophies were presented Monday at the Weirton Chamber offices for the following categories:

Large Float: Lombardi Development, first place

XX Large Float: Cleveland Cliffs and John D. Rockefeller Career Center, tie for first place

Mini-float: Chambers and James Funeral Homes, first place; Dance by Hillary, second place

Decorated Vehicle/Specialty Unit: Rust Belt Jeep Alliance, first place; Army National Guard, second place

Performance Group (Dance Troupe, Walkers, Strollers, Carolers): Dancy by Hillary, first place; Weir Middle School Cheerleaders, second place

Best Band Sound: Brooke High School

Chamber officials noted there were close to 70 entries in the parade.

Sponsors for the 2021 Weirton Christmas Parade were Nick’s Auto, West Virginia Northern Community College, Summer’s Enterprise and Best You Boutique.

Fireworks sponsors were Encompass Health, Hancock County Savings Bank, Nick’s Auto, First Choice America Federal Credit Union, Tomtreyco/McDonald’s, and Window World, with Summer’s Enterprise serving as the grand finale sponsor.

Cameron High School Athletic Complex Unveiled

Cameron High School Athletic Complex Unveiled

A major overhaul to the adjoining sports facility of Cameron High School is now in its final stages, and school officials are ready to show visitors what the Dragons’ lair looks like on the inside.

Overhauling the Dragon Stadium Athletic Complex began in January 2020, and M&G Architects and Engineers were tasked with a tricky setup — with limited room to expand outward, due to an already tight parking situation, the existing fieldhouse and concession area were instead renovated on the spot and built upward, while additional work was done along the sides of a nearby road to reinforce them. In total, the square footage was increased from around 4,300 to 12,425, at a cost of around $3.2 million. Construction was handled by Lombardi Development Co.

Marshall County Facilities Director Mike Price and CHS Athletics Director Roger Cain gave a tour of the new complex at the Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day, the directors did a walkthrough to show off the facility in the morning sun.

“The only thing we didn’t do was replace concrete in the block,” Price said. “Everything else has been re-engineered — we upgraded electric, we upgraded gas, we upgraded lighting, safety alarms, all those things.”

The first floor consists of a new locker room for referees, a visitor’s locker room that doubles as the middle school wrestling practice room, a middle school locker room, restrooms, and a newly outfitted concession stand. The middle school locker room, Cain added, was a massive improvement itself, as student athletes now have a place to stow their gear during the school day.

The facility’s upper story had several rooms serving multiple purposes, allowing multiple teams to practice at once. A 103-foot room runs the length of one side of the building, which provides space for an archery practice range, but also a mound surrounded by netting for pitching and batting practice. A large room with high ceilings serves as the central room on the upper story, allowing gymnastics, cheerleading and wrestling. This room is also used for community events, such as junior wrestling. Basketball will continue to be held in the two gyms of the high school.

Prior to the construction of the new facility, Price said, athletes of all stripes had to share the two gyms at Cameron High School, which seriously limited the amount of time available.

“They had to share the gym, and that’s why this is such a needed facility,” Cain said. “Year round, they’re doing all these things, and trying to utilize the same gym everyone else wants a piece of. They tried to schedule time, so the athletic directors’ challenges were, basketball is here until 9, archery maybe until 10 or 11, and with wrestling and everything else going on.”

The second floor also hosts a spacious and modern locker room, with an adjoining coach’s office connecting to a conference room. That room will double as an athletic training classroom. A training room and equipment room round out the top floor.

In the future, Cain said there are plans to establish a Hall of Fame — academic, athletic, and for any other purpose — in the vestibule.

The complex, now two stories, towers over the field, which itself was recently renovated, with turf and high-end material replacing a field that was grass only a few years ago. The field was partially damaged in the floods in June, but after two days of cleanup work, had been restored, good as new.

Cain added that with the pandemic last year, he’s eager to see the field and athletic complex finally be able to welcome returning fans and players at the same time.

Price added that the Cameron community has been fantastic in its support of the project and the Dragons, extending that support to the taxpayers of Marshall County who fund the school district.

“I can’t believe how well-received the community is. They’ve been nothing but gracious during this whole process,” Price said.

Follansbee chamber honors local manufacturing firms

Follansbee chamber honors local manufacturing firms

FOLLANSBEE — In observance of National Manufacturing Week, the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce has recognized five local businesses for the vital role they play in the local economy and community.

“We need to be grateful for the industries in our area because they employ a lot of our people. They also support the community in various ways, including contributing to festivals and free concerts in the park, sponsoring scholarships for students and helping us with community projects,” said Chamber President Debbie Puskarich.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has joined the chamber in acknowledging Eagle Manufacturing, a division of the Justrite Safety Group; Jupiter Aluminum; Lombardi Development; Mountain State Carbon; and Wheeling-Nippon Steel through a resolution in which he states: “In West Virginia we pride ourselves on working hard to support our families and striving to benefit our communities and our entire state, and that is what Manufacturing Week is all about. It is vital that we showcase the importance of manufacturing to the economy and draw attention to the many rewarding high-skill jobs that are available.”

Manchin noted the occasion offers “an opportunity to introduce state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities to a new generation of students and future workers. Partnerships between manufacturing businsses and educational institutions at all levels are essential in preparing students for careers today and in the future. Our state is fortunate to be the home of many great manufacturing facilities, some of which are world leaders in their respective fields, employing thousands of people.”

Established in Wellsburg in 1894, Eagle Manufacturing is a leading producer of safety cans, safety cabinets, poly drums, materials used in secondary spill containment and other products for the handling of industrial materials. In 2018, it became part of the Justrite Safety Group, another leader in the safety products industry.

Eagle was a founding and active member of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association in 1915 and has remained active in it during the years, supporting its educational fund and establishing the Explore the New Manufacturing campaign to encourage middle school students and others to consider careers in manufacturing.

Dave Harvey, vice president of operations at Eagle, noted that prior to the pandemic, students from Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties often visited the company’s facilities, where they viewed robotics, 3D printers and other state of the art equipment in use.

“We have shown them how a concept can go from idea to prototype within our plant,” Harvey said.

Jupiter Aluminum has operated in Beech Bottom since 2013, when it moved into the former Wheeling Steel Corrugating Plant. The former steel mill was acquired by the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and Hackman Capital Partners and renamed the Beech Bottom Industrial Park.

Established in Hammond, Ind., in 1992, the company recycles aluminum scrap for use in construction materials, including gutters, screens and vents; recreational vehicles, irrigation lines used on many farms and other products ranging from cookware to license plates.

Paul-Henri Chevalier, the company’s chief executive officer, noted, “Since its start in Beech Bottom, Jupiter Aluminum has been investing in its business and strengthening ties within the community. We expect to be one of the largest employers in the area for years to come.”

The company invested a 10-year lease for its space in the industrial park in 2017 and has invested $9 million in renovations to the former steel mill benefiting itself and potential future tenants there.

Lombardi Development was established in 1999 by Follansbee natives Paul and Karolee Lombardi and grew quickly from a small construction company to a builder and renovator of homes, administrative offices, medical facilities, churches, government facilities and academic buildings.

Lombardi Development has headquarters in Follansbee, Morgantown and Bonita Springs, Fla., where it has constructed custom-built homes.

The business was named the chamber’s Corporate Business of the Year for its community involvement, which has included contributions to the Bruins Helping Bruins clothes closet and food pantry and other nonprofit groups.

Mountain State Carbon’s roots can be traced to 1917, when the Follansbee plant was a major supplier of steel for the then emerging auto industry and soon after, military equipment used during World War I.

Today it supplies carbon, stainless and electrical materials for many products, including automobiles, appliances, buildings, culverts, cutlery and cookware as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, industrial motors and power transformers.

It is one of many facilities operated by AK Steel, a subsidiary of Cleveland Cliffs Inc. As part of the AK Steel Cares program, Mountain State Carbon employees and vendors serving the company have donated hundreds of pounds of food to the Follansbee R.E.A.C.H. Program, a local food pantry.

Monetary contributions to the charity also have been made by the United Steelworkers of America, which represents many of the 265 employed by the plant.

Established in 1986 as Wheeling-Nisshin Inc., Wheeling-Nippon Steel has applied protective, corrosive-resistant coatings to millions of tons of steel used in agriculture, automotive manufacturing, construction, solar power and many other industries.

In recent years, $28 million was invested in the Follansbee plant to allow it to produce ZAM, an extremely durable zinc aluminum and magnesium alloy developed by its parent company in Japan and found in Brooke Middle School and along Follansbee streets and other roads.

The company’s community involvement has included awarding numerous scholarships to Brooke High School seniors and donating $100,000 for renovations to the city’s baseball fields.

Officials with all of the businesses stressed a good education as a prerequisite for careers in manufacturing and construction.

“Students and young adults looking for a career in construction are best prepared if they enter a trade school and/or participate in high school construction courses. Students should seek construction jobs during the summer to gain hands-on experience. Having a strong work ethic with the desire to grow your career through on-the-job experiences will help advance your career quickly. Lombardi Development Company is always interested in hiring individuals who are eager to learn,” said Joe Lombardi, Lombardi Development’s director of business development.

Drew Vrotsos, operations manager at Mountain State Carbon, said as a growing number of long-time employees retire, the company looks to fill their positions with qualified new recruits.

He said a test is used to determine each applicant’s basic mechanical and electrical aptitude, with eyes geared currently toward those suited for electrical, mechanical and electronic maintenance as well as production jobs.

“There’s a very big shortage of crafts people in the steel industry,” he said.

Harvey said Eagle and other manufacturing firms need machinists, electronics maintenance workers and those who can program robots and other machines.

“Those are skill sets we’re always looking for,” he said.

Lombardi Development Company is blessed to be able to continue to support the community

Lombardi Development Company is blessed to be able to continue to support the community

FOLLANSBEE – Lombardi Development Company is blessed through the hard work and dedication of our employees to be able to continue to support the community. A check was presented to the Bruins Helping Bruins to help fill the food program needs. LDC Employees also spent an afternoon building “Free Pantries”. Two of the pantries will be donated to the Brooke County Public Library and Follansbee Branch for books the community can take or leave. The other two will be donated to the Community Bread Basket, Inc. so food will be accessible if there is a need when they are closed.