New rabbit, poultry barn

Some minor weather-related scheduling adjustments have not affected the overall timeline for the completion of a new rabbit and poultry barn at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Foundation work is under way on the structure, which is scheduled to be completed in early April, according to David Haught, who owns Marietta-based DLH Design, LLC and planned the new structure.

Haught said he has no reason to believe the building will not be completed by the April deadline.

“We’re just scheduling as weather permits. We knew starting in October we were going to have weather considerations,” he said.

The designs for the building were approved by the Washington County commissioners during an August meeting and allowed for a 180-day completion schedule beginning when construction started in October.

Rain, snow and freezing temperatures have forced some construction scheduling changes but general contractor Gillard Construction Inc. is in the process of pouring foundations, said Haught.

The pre-engineered steel building has also been ordered, he said.

If severe weather causes any future delays in the construction of the building, a provision of the contract would allow for an extended deadline, said Haught.

The completion date is just shortly before the one- year anniversary of the fire that destroyed the previous barn, displacing a weekly farmers market held there and leaving the Washington County Fair Board to erect tents to house the small animals during the Washington County Fair.

While the tents used to house the rabbits and poultry during the 2013 Washington County Fair were an adequate replacement, the fair board is looking forward to having the barn in place in time for this year’s fair, said Washington County Fair Board president Fred Boyd.

That will run from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2. Other than using the barn during the fair, the fair board does not have definitive plans for the building, said Boyd.

“We had the farmers market in there when the fire occurred. We have not made a determination yet what we’re doing to put back in the building once it’s built,” he said.

The River City Farmers Market had long rented the building from the fair board for its Saturday farmers market. They have been holding the market there for around six years, said Gary Smith, president of the River City Farmers Market.

Dozens of vendors lost thousands of dollars worth of items stored in the building when it burned down.

While the Washington County Fair Board’s insurance policy will pay the $368,750 cost of a new building, it did not cover the items housed there by farmers market vendors.

“A lot of individuals have got their own insurance now,” said Smith.

Since the fire, tremendous community support has helped keep the River City Farmers Market a Saturday staple.

Currently the market is renting the fair board’s Home Arts Building for the same $30 weekly fee that it was paying to rent the Rabbit and Poultry Building, said Smith.

Smith said he hopes the market will be able to move into the new structure once it is built.

The new building will offer several improvements over the old building, said Haught.

For starters, it will adhere to strict flood plain guidelines which include a slightly elevated foundation and flood relief louvers designed to quickly vent water in the event of a flood.

The building will be slightly larger, will be made of steel rather than wood, and will include an raised platform with an office, said Haught.