By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — — An area contractor has donated materials and labor to help construct a storage building for the local Habitat for Humanity organization.
Shores Builders, based in Centralia, recently cleared out a tree line and constructed a building pad in the 1700 block of North Street.
The Mt. Vernon City Council recently approved a zoning request from Habitat for Humanity from residential to light industrial that allowed for the storage building to be constructed.
"We put it out that we were looking for bids to clear the lot and get the building pad built up," explained Shawn Laughlin, a board member for Habitat for Humanity and an employee of Shores Builders.
"I went to Steve Shores, the owner, and asked him if he would give a number. He asked for some specifics on the project and he said, 'You know, no more than it is, we'll just go ahead and take care of it for them,' " he added.
Shores is involved in several construction projects in Mt. Vernon, including the new Good Samaritan Hospital, Aquatic Zoo water park and demolishing the former St. Mary's Hospital.
"We've done a lot of work in Centralia but we've had a lot of work the last several years in Mt. Vernon so he (Shores) kind of wanted to give back in this area as well since the area has been just as good to him as his hometown," Laughlin said.
"Jefferson County Habitat for Humanity is grateful to Shores Builders for supplying the labor and equipment to clear land for our new building site," said Bob Shaw, secretary of the organization. "As an all-volunteer organization we rely on the support of good corporate citizens like Shores Builders in our mission to help provide affordable housing for under-privileged families."
Laughlin said the project took just two days to complete — the first day clearing trees and the construction of the building pad the following day.
"Some of the material we've got here is from the concrete we recycled from the old hospital to make the base of the building," he said.
The building is going to be a 30 by 48 storage building for Habitat for Humanity.
"There'll be office space with a conditioned storage space for paints and/or materials that can't overheat or freeze with a bathroom," Laughlin said, adding the building will be used as office space and a conference room for Habitat for Humanity.
"We've got the small garage and trailer (to the south of the Lifeboat shelter). We have recently turned over the shelter to Lifeboat completely. They will be the owners as soon as the paperwork changes hands and the garage was included in the deal," Laughlin said.
Habitat for Humanity has been using donated space on the fourth floor of the US Bank Building.
"We were looking for a place where we could use our logo and our own space to have meetings and call our own," Laughlin said.
Laughlin estimated the cost to construct the new metal building, which is coming from a company in Dahlgren, to be approximately $20,000.
"Shores volunteered to get us to this point. We (Habitat) will pour the floor ourselves, interior walls and finishes and then we'll have a licensed plumber and electrician to come in to finish out the interior," Laughlin said.
Habitat for Humanity has selected a family and will begin construction on a home in the Summersville area this summer.
"That's part of the push to get this building up so we will have a place to store materials during the project," Laughlin said.