02/26/14 — Contract awarded for state veterans cemetery

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Contract awarded for state veterans cemetery

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 26, 2014 2:05 PM

SfL+a Architects has been awarded the contract to design the new state veterans cemetery planned for the Long's Plant Farm Road area just east of Goldsboro.

The company, which has offices in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Charlotte, has designed state veterans cemeteries in North Carolina and Virginia.

"They have done a few projects in Goldsboro and Wayne County and were very familiar with the area," said Eli Panee, cemetery program manager with the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs. "They also designed two other state veterans cemeteries.

"They did the one in Spring Lake, the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery, across from Fort Bragg. They also designed the state veterans cemetery in Suffolk, Va."

In an unrelated project, the company is also designing and building Wayne County's new Grantham and Spring Creek middle schools.

Local officials say the cemetery will not only pay tribute to veterans, but will help protect Seymour Johnson Air Force Base by helping control encroachment around the base.

It would also have an economic impact in the form of tourism dollars, the officials said.

Work on securing the cemetery has been ongoing for about six years.

It will be a state cemetery since the area does not meet the population threshold to receive the national designation. However, former Wayne County commissioner Andy Anderson, who has championed the project since the start, has said he will continue to work to secure that national designation.

The cemetery will be built and maintained by the state utilizing a $6 million federal grant from the Veterans Cemetery Grants Service Agency.

The state has appropriated $600,000 for the project.

Currently the project focus is getting "a lot" of the administrative work done, Panee said.

"I know they have started to do soil testing, and they have hired a firm to do environment studies," he said. "It is starting to move along, but it is a slow process. We hope that by fall we will have met all of the requirements."

At that time, the plans will be submitted to federal and state offices for final approval. It is hoped the project will be ready to bid out by the end of the year.

The project cost could range between $3.8 million and $4.5 million, with construction taking 8 to 11 months. The completion date could be by early fall 2015, Panee said.

The site will have five employees, two in administration and three grounds personnel, all of whom will be state employees.

The design will be for a new cemetery on about 80 acres including office building, committal shelter, maintenance building kand equipment storage yard, burial area for caskets and cremations, a columbarium (where cinerary urns are placed), road and drive network and landscaping.

It also includes concept plans, boundary and topographic surveys, geotechnical reports, environmental assessments and archeological surveys.

The county purchased two tracts of land for $468,862 from Harry and Mollie (Ivey) LLC, a Goldsboro real estate investment firm managed by Ted E. Ivey and Robert W. Ivey.

The Wayne Development Alliance has also donated 26.3 acres it owns to the project.

One of the Ivey tracts is 14.49-acre and is located on the west side of Long's Plant Farm Road. The second tract of 35.74 acres is located on the east side of the road and adjoins the land donated by Development Alliance.

The county will transfer the land to the state.