Valdosta Daily Times

March 24, 2013

Building a new Valdosta

Elkins Constructors opens Valdosta office

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — After working on building projects in Lowndes County and neighboring counties for a number of years, Elkins Constructors has opened an office in Valdosta.

“We felt like the timing was right,” said Gordon Steadman, Elkins vice president of development. “We have people who have been living in Valdosta full-time for years, paying taxes, being residents. It was time to open a Valdosta office and be more of a part of the community.”

Elkins also has offices in Jacksonville, Fla., Atlanta and Savannah.

A 1983 graduate from Valdosta State College, Steadman has watched Valdosta grow and change throughout the last 30 years.

“When you compare Valdosta then to Valdosta now, it’s wonderful,” said Steadman. “What the city has done with the South Georgia Medical Center, what the Air Force has done with Moody ... it’s truly turned the city into a metropolitan center.”

Steadman is particularly proud of Elkins’ work at Valdosta State University.

“To be able to work for the school that really shaped who I am professionally that’s been a real honor.”

Much like Steadman, Elkins involvement with Valdosta goes back decades.

Elkins started working the region in 1990, but it began to work steadily in the area in 2007, when the company built a manufacturing plant for Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe. After that, Elkins worked on a new K-8 school in Statenville and started and completed two projects for VSU, working on an addition to the Bailey Science Center and the new psychology building.

Since August, Elkins has focused on its latest Valdosta project, building the new Pinevale Elementary School on Lake Park Highway.

“We want (it) to be a permanent part of the regional area,” said Brett Diamon, project manager for the Pinevale build. “It’s the most unique school we’ve done to date.”

The school, designed by local architectural firm Altman + Barrett Architects, has a bright, colorful front, with large panels of sunny yellow, mellow blues, and grassy greens to welcome students. Throughout the school, a plethora of windows and skylights let in natural light throughout the day, cutting energy costs while getting away from the old, generic elementary school design.

“We’re also focusing on and investing in technology,” said Diamon, “setting up teaching walls and wireless access points.”

“If you look back 10 years, schools were banning students from bringing in technology,” said Bill Stinson, Elkins senior vice president. “Now they’re encouraging students to bring in smart phones, tablets, to use as part of their learning.”

Elkins also takes special care with the security system for the school.

“With recent events in mind, it’s something we’re investing in,” said Stinson.

The 128,000-square-foot project, with 48 classrooms and a capacity for 800 students, is being built with the long-term in mind.

“We want there to be room to grow,” said Diamon.

When the school is finished in October — “Octoberish” — students will immediately begin attending. Then, the current Pinevale Elementary will be torn down to provide parking for the new Pinevale, leaving the current gymnasium intact.

For Billy Duke, project superintendent for the Pinevale build, building the school means never having a boring day at work.

“I think everyone has an idea of that generic elementary school,” said Duke. “But this one has some wow factor to it.”