Project Manager Dana Baer (right) and TGP Supervisor Jeff Stanley enjoy a lighter moment as they inspect the overhead lighting for our new building. We asked Dana for one last  progress report.

TGP:  Hi Dana. A lot has happened since we last talked.  Are you happy with the results?

Dana:  Yes, the building is turning out to be beautiful and bright and I think our guests and volunteers will really enjoy the new space!

TGP:  Have there been any surprises?

Dana:  In construction there are often surprises but we have a good set of plans and an excellent contractor, so the surprises we have had were minor. Doten’s on-site foreman David is very detail-oriented and has been a pleasure to work with. Together we have resolved the minor issues that inevitably arise during construction.

TGP:  How soon will we be able to move in?

Dana:  The occupancy date is scheduled for August 18 which means The Gathering Place can move in any time after that. The likely move-in date will be early to mid-September.

TGP:  What will the interior look like?  Floors, walls, lighting?

Dana:  The interior space is bright and well lit with a combination of large windows and state-of-the art LED lights. The walls are a very light orange and the floors are polished concrete. The interior design committee has done an excellent job of coordinating the cabinets, countertops and wall color to create a very comfortable interior space.

TGP:  Do we have the furniture we need to get started?

Dana:  All of the equipment and furnishings are not on hand yet. A significant inventory of furniture and a refrigerator have been donated. The remaining items needed for occupancy have been identified and the ordering will be complete very soon.

TGP:  There’s a flower bed out front of where we are now.  Very colorful.  What sort of landscaping is being  planned for the new building?

Dana:  We have two large areas in the front of the building and one on the side that will be landscaped. A volunteer master gardner has offered to select the perennial plants and help get them installed in the fall after the weather cools down. The goal of the planting is to provide beauty with as little maintenance as possible. Until then the bare ground will be mulched to keep the loam from being eroded by the wind and rain.

TGP:  Speaking of landscaping, the large trees between the building and the railroad tracks provide shade and cooling on hot summer days.  If we go solar, will they have to be felled or partially de-limbed?  Won’t this be less of a problem in the winter when the trees are bare?

Dana:  If we go solar, many of the tall trees on the south side of the building will have to be removed. The decision has not been made yet and the impact on the trees will be part of the decision. If trees are removed, new trees that will not grow as tall as the oaks and maples on that side will be planted

TGP:  How about protection when the building isn’t occupied?  Will we have a security system and, if so, what will it do?

Dana:  There is a security system with intrusion alarms, fire and smoke alarms, and cameras. In addition to providing security, the system has two cold temperature alarms to alert if the building heat goes off in the winter and the building gets cold.