Oak Harbor sees construction boom

"Business will be booming into 2002 for construction companies involved in Oak Harbor commercial building and remodeling projects.This weekend when Alaska USA Credit Union celebrates the grand opening of its newly completed office on Midway Boulevard the company will also be marking the first of many projects completed during the 2001 construction season.Jim Koepke, city building official, listed several major changes slated for the next year. Most will start construction during the summer months, pending financing and permit approval.Everyone wants to get out of the ground before the rains start, Koepke said. The big news in this year's commercial construction story is a planned Safeway gasoline service center. The project will bring a four island gas station and convenience store facility sheltered by a 118-foot-long canopy to the edge of State Route 20 across from Southeast 11th Avenue and near a bus stop. Another change in the Island Plaza, the Safeway shopping center, will be the remodeling of a vacant space to make way for a furniture rental store.Remodeling work began on Clover Valley Elementary School in February. The school is getting an expanded library with computer lab, a new roof, new paint, some interior rearrangement and new wiring, plumbing and telecommunications hookups. Gary Goltz, Oak Harbor School District construction manager, said each classroom will be set up for six student computer terminals and a teacher terminal. Construction is scheduled to be completed Aug. 7. Once Clover Valley school is complete Broad View and Olympic View elementary schools will both be getting similar treatment. The Broad View project is slated to start this October and Olympic View will follow in August 2002. Site plans have been submitted for several more projects. Skagit Valley College will add a new 40,000-square-foot classroom building to its Oak Harbor campus. The building will go up at the corner of Catalina and Regatta drives.Affordable Mini Storage is putting in a $1.2 million 50,875-square-foot storage unit facility on State Route 20 near Auvil Road. There will be nine metal storage buildings and a managers residence on the site.Les Schwab Tires is designing a new $1 million structure to be built behind their existing building. Manager Dick Eggen said the project is still in the planning stages. Hopefully it'll start this April or early May, Eggen said.Projects pending for later in the year include the new Bayshore Plaza center across from Starbucks and a new location and building for Ace Hardware. Whidbey Presbyterian Church is also planning a remodeling project to include the addition of a fellowship hall, kitchen and Sunday school rooms. "

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