Progress Report: New facility at 1300 Hopeman Parkway coming along

vector hopemanBy Chrissy Johnston

Our new facility will be a game-changer for Vector Industries. But before we can move in, we have several renovation projects that need to be accomplished.

Our top priority has been renovating the plant-area bathrooms to ensure ADA compliance. This has been an expensive proposition, since none of the existing fixtures were adequate or up to code. So, the next time you walk into a restaurant bathroom, please notice and appreciate the toilet area partitions.  These are expensive! Work is in progress, and we hope to finish at least the first bank of bathrooms within the next few weeks.

Creating an inviting, and practical, breakroom that meets the needs of our wonderful employees is our next priority. We are currently in the design phase. In addition to planning for a comfortable lunch and breakroom for our employees, our goal is to also utilize the space for meetings and other functions. We are breezing through this process, and once completed, we will apply for the permit and move forward with this part of the renovation.

Again, this is an expensive proposition. We are contemplating various choices in cabinets and countertops with an eye to the future. We need durable products that will hold up over time. We presently have residential refrigerators that were donated to Vector some time ago. Since we do not serve lunch at our facility, refrigerators are essential for our employees to store the lunches they bring from home. We would love to eventually install commercial grade refrigerators in this space.

We are in the process of replacing old, inefficient fluorescent lighting with all new LED lighting throughout the facility. We are very excited about this since the energy savings over a few years will pay for the fixtures. In addition to being energy-efficient, these fixtures do not put off the heat of typical fluorescent fixtures, and will therefore provide a more comfortable work environment for our employees.

The facility comes with concrete floors that have seen better days. Years and years of forklift traffic have left the floors in need of repair due to gouges and pits throughout. And given the population that we serve, a smooth floor is essential. The best approach to fixing the floors is to install a high-build epoxy floor on it. The epoxy actually resurfaces the old concrete and provides a floor that is smooth and easy to transition. Aside from the roof and LED lights, this is one of the most expensive items on our “need list.” We are fortunate that the facility is divided into areas that will allow us to possibly do the worst areas prior to occupancy and address the remaining areas at some point in the future.

As with any project, there are a number of upgrades that we have made to the building that are not something you see, touch or feel, but are important nonetheless. The electrical service to the building was deficient so we have upgraded the service. The HVAC units all need to be replaced.  We had to have the sprinkler system overhauled. Then there is the plumbing. And, the paving. And the roof.

The list goes on and on, and with that list comes the line item expenses associated with a project of this size. We are fortunate that several companies have already stepped up to make a contribution in whatever way they can.

Hershey and NIBCO both helped us kick off this project by providing labor to demolish certain areas of the building during the United Way’s Week of Caring. Also, the Valley Scholars volunteered their time to spruce up the landscaping.  he Community Foundation and Cadence provided a grant for new doors for the employee entrance. Parker Bows and McKee Foods have made monetary donations toward renovation costs. Skyline Roofing has discounted its services to keep our roof patched until a new one can be afforded. Morris Brothers Plumbing has stepped up and discounted some of their services. Union Bank has donated tons of beautiful office and warehouse furniture. Premier Moving Services has given us a substantial discount to move that same furniture from Salem to Waynesboro. Home Depot has donated labor for some cabinets that we are installing. Rish Capps has volunteered her time to help us with design finishes.

We are so grateful to everyone listed above – if you have an opportunity to support these entities, please do so. Their contributions are enabling Vector Industries to continue to provide employment to persons with disabilities.

If this progress report has inspired you or your company to help us with this project, no donation is too small. Please email me at Chrissy@vectorindustries.org or call me at (540) 943-8444 ext. 1 if you would like to discuss the details. Or you can mail a check to Vector Industries at 1001 Fairfax Avenue, Waynesboro, VA 22980. Your donation will go directly toward the improvements to our new facility at 1300 Hopeman Parkway, Waynesboro, VA. And your donation will enable Vector Industries to continue to provide employment to a population that might not have the opportunity elsewhere.

Chrissy Johnston is the president and CEO of Vector Industries, which employs and trains persons with diverse disabilities to enable them to reach their potential as productive community members. More online at VectorIndustries.org.