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Veto Won't Stall FAMU Project

Crestview News Bulletin - May 10, 2012

Governor Rick Scott’s veto of $1.5 million allocated for the Florida A&M University Rural Diversity Healthcare Center and its pharmacy school in Crestview hasn’t affected the scores of workers swarming around the building’s interior. Renovation of the 1930s Crestview landmark Alatex Building into the new facility was covered by last year’s budget.


Read about Scott's veto.


Mayor David Cadle said he has spoken to former state Sen. Durell Peaden, who has been the driving force behind bringing the school to Crestview, and Sen. Greg Evers, who both assured that the vetoed funding, which was earmarked for staff salaries, will be found in other budgets.


“A small set back there on the veto, but I feel assured that they are doing some creative ways to overcome that veto,” Cadle said.


Cadle also said he spoke with site supervisor James Sampson with One Day Came Construction, who told him the building will open as scheduled.


Site supervisor Nolan Raybon with Peter Brown Construction said between 50 and 60 workers a day can be found in the building as wallboard goes up, last touches are added to the heating and air conditioning ductwork and utilities are fed into the school’s various rooms.


“Some days the numbers are in the lower 70s,” Raybon said of the workforce.


With Sheetrock hung throughout both floors, workers on adjustable stilts were spackling between sheets of wallboard and over indentations caused by mounting hardware. They’re followed by a touch-up crew, whose spackle — called “mud” in the industry — is colored pink.


“That way, if one guy knocks off, the next one can follow his trail around the building,” Raybon explained. “It’s kind of like leaving breadcrumbs. He can follow his buddy’s trail.”


With the central elevator shaft complete, the concrete block core will be sheathed in some special wood paneling. Original second story floor joists were sent to a mill in Alabama where special saws sliced each joist into four tongue-and-groove planks.


Renovating the historic building for its new life hasn’t been as easy as erecting a new building from the ground up, Raybon said, but he and his workers are proud of how the repurposing is coming along and that their work is helping preserve a Crestview landmark.


“It has certainly presented its challenges,” he said.


Though work has fallen slightly behind schedule, Raybon sees no impediment to meeting the July deadline for FAMU staff to start setting up the school to receive its first class of students in August.


“Buildings are never on schedule, but they always finish on time,” Raybon said.

Copyright © 2012 Freedom Communications.