Church construction project continues

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Construction continues on the $8.7 million High Street United Methodist Church on Camp Parkway. -- HATTIE FRANCIS | TIDEWATER NEWS


FRANKLIN—High Street United Methodist Church had hoped the construction of its new $8.7 million church would provide much-needed jobs for residents.

Of the 165 to 175 who were interviewed by Kenbridge Construction following a job fair hosted by the Lunenburg County general contractor, two local folks were hired.

“We’ve created at least two jobs so far,” said Robert Ledbetter, safety director and human relations officer for Kenbridge Construction.

Church officials hope that subcontractors will hire additional local residents as construction continues on the Camp Parkway church.

“We want people from Franklin and Southampton to have work,” said High Street United Methodist Pastor Susan Reaves. “We’ll be doing this probably around a year.”

Ledbetter hired a carpenter and assistant carpenter, both local residents. On average, Kenbridge Construction has 20 workers on the job site each day, meaning 10 percent of workers are local.

The church is also trying to buy materials locally and use local subcontractors.

“Whenever we can, we’re getting materials from people and businesses around here,” said Reaves.

The church is purchasing all of its lumber from W.H. Basnight & Co. in Franklin, and Rawlings Mechanical in Courtland is doing the heating, air conditioning, and plumbing. Crowder & White Contracting in Franklin is doing the site work.

The church should be completed in December.

“As far as I know, it is on schedule despite the snow,” Ledbetter said.

“The progress has been going well,” said church member Bob Luck, who serves as liaison to Kenbridge Construction. “We got it out of the ground before bad weather hit. I know there are others that didn’t happen to get going, and they are struggling with ground problems.”

Ledbetter was pleased with the job fair at Paul D. Camp Community College, which attracted about 200 applicants.

“The work ethic seems to be very high in Franklin-Southampton County,” he said. “People want to work; it’s like they have a desire to take part and earn a living.”

“We would have liked to hire everybody, but that’s just not possible,” Ledbetter added. “It’s going be a beautiful building.”