When Danny Powell drives by a construction site in Rowan County and sees his company’s sign outside, he immediately thinks about his father.
“For my dad, he would be proud that we’re building something locally,” said Powell, president of Salcoa Contracting, Inc.
Powell’s father, A.D. Powell, founded Salcoa Contracting as Salisbury Coatings and Metalizing in Salisbury in 1986 as a paint contracting business. Over the years, Salcoa began conducting renovations for Food Lion, evolving alongside the grocery store chain and becoming one of its go-to general contractors. Although Food Lion and Salcoa are both based in Salisbury, Salcoa was doing most of its work away from home in grocery stores as far away as Maryland.
That is, until a few years ago, when the company began to diversify its portfolio by taking on more local projects.
“In the past five years, we’ve started doing some local work, which is really starting to grow,” Powell said.
More and more Salcoa signs have started popping up in Rowan County, like in front of Moose Pharmacy or at Dan Nicholas Park, where the company is constructing a new concession stand.
On Monday, Salcoa began work on another major project in Rowan County — implementing the “common solutions” phase of the county’s plan to upgrade its facilities to comply with health guidelines and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The project was designed by architect Pete Bogle and his team at The Bogle Firm Architecture.
The project, Powell said, comes with more gravity than most.
“Being a local company, there’s a good feeling knowing you’re helping out the local EMS or other county workers to help them be safer with what’s going on in the world,” Powell said.
Over the next several weeks, Salcoa will install touchless bathroom fixtures, hand sanitizer stations and other measures in 35 Rowan County facilities. Salcoa began work on the project just a week after it was approved by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners at its Sept. 21 meeting.
“It’s a project here at home to protect people,” Salcoa estimator Josh Triplett said. “Hopefully what we’re doing in these 35 Rowan County facilities can slow the spread of this disease.”
Most of the work associated with the “common solutions” phase is familiar to Salcoa. After all, the company has been automating buildings by installing hands-free fixtures for more than a decade. However, installing social distancing signage is “a little different” than what the company is used to, Powell said.
Josh Triplett, the project manager of Salcoa’s COVID-19 phase one implementation team, attaches a sticker to a door in the Rowan County Recycling Center.
One of the expected challenges with the project was finding the needed materials because similar projects are occurring in municipalities across the state and country. Despite a potential shortage in the supply chain, Salcoa was able to obtain the necessary materials without much difficulty.
“We’re very fortunate that our suppliers, who we do a lot of work with, were able to get us a lot of this material, which in this time is hard to do,” Triplett said. “Every county out there is trying to do this right now but Rowan County is moving as fast as it is that we were able to get all the materials we need to get this done.”
For both Salcoa and Rowan County, the clock is ticking on executing phase one. The funding for the project comes from federal coronavirus relief funds, but Rowan County is only eligible to receive that funding if construction is completed by Dec. 30.
“We’re going to get it done and hopefully we can get it done sooner than later,” Triplett said. “I do know there’s a federal funding timeline. We’ve got a timeline to beat and to my knowledge, since I’ve been in the estimator’s chair, I don’t think we’ve missed one deadline. We look forward to the challenge.”
The “common solutions” portion is the first phase in a two part project. The second phase, called “design solutions” is currently being planned by The Bogle Firm and includes installations that require more construction work. Bogle said that phase two of the plan will soon be presented to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and the project will then go to open bidding.