In less than two years after a fire that destroyed the "old" Pine Island Chamber of Commerce building, the "new" building is well under way towards completion.
"I hope to be in by Christmas," chamber President Steve Timcak said. "We've had a few setbacks with the weather but having a Christmas party here would be great."
At about 3 a.m., Friday, Jan. 13, in 2012 when the Sheriff's Department called in a fire at 3640 S.W. Pine Island Road - the Chamber of Commerce building. The Pine Island Fire Department responded with four trucks and nine firefighters, and the Cape Coral Fire Department responded with three trucks and six firefighters. When it was all over the building was a complete loss. The cause of the fire arson.
The walls are going up on
the new Pine Island Chamber of Commerce building.
Plans to rebuild started immediately and in a little over a year the chamber held a groundbreaking at the original site on Pine Island Road.
At the time Timcak spoke about the incredible volunteerism found on and around Pine Island. "This ceremony wouldn't be taking place if it wasn't for volunteerism," Timcak said, "an attribute this island takes great pride in."
The new chamber building will provide approximately 1,428 square feet of space. The "open air" design will give it that "island feel." Inside there is a vaulted ceiling that will provide an open feel but more importantly, help to keep the building cool. At the top there will be a cupola, not just for architectural appeal, but to provide interior natural light.
Visiting the site last week, construction manager Ron Marra said, "Think of giant Lego's. We're not using wood in this building at all. Starting from the concrete base the crew will construct styrofoam frames the height of the walls - 9 feet tall. Inside these forms they will pour concrete so that what is actually here is a one-piece concrete building. The exterior will be covered in Hardi-siding creating a hurricane-proof, fire-proof building. And the 'R' factor should be in the high 40s."
"We also built a 'green building,'" Timcak said. "New concrete technologies and new heating and cooling systems will reduce costs and reduce the effects on the environment. And the spray foam insulation will make this an airtight building. We not only have a new 'green' building but a building that will withstand fire, hurricanes and just about anything."
Once people enter the building they will be greeted at the Welcome Center Command Center by director Jennifer Jennings. On their right will be offices and on their left offices, bathrooms and a small kitchen.
Originally the building was scheduled to be completed in November. The first issues to overcome were the ever-changing building codes. Then Southwest Florida was hit with very high rainfalls. These uncontrollable conditions held up the process several weeks.
The total cost for this eco-friendly building should not exceed $140,00.