|By James Loewenstein, The Daily Review,
Towanda, Pa.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 23, 2011--WYSOX TOWNSHIP -- It is common these days to see modular homes built out of pre-fabricated units.
It is not so common to see a hotel building being constructed entirely out of prefabricated modular units, which is what is taking place this week at the RiverStone Inn property on U.S. Route 6 in Wysox Township.
Early Tuesday afternoon, a crane could be seen lifting a 51,000 pound pre-fabricated modular unit, which was 15 feet wide and 64 feet long, and setting it in place on top of a similar unit behind the RiverStone Inn. Workmen helped guide the placement of the unit.
These two units are among the 27 prefabricated modular units that are being used to construct a 40-room hotel building on the RiverStone Inn property, said Gregg Murrelle, operations director of the RiverStone Inn.
The new building will be part of the RiverStone Inn, and will be located approximately 150 feet away from the existing RiverStone Inn building, according to Murrelle and Larry Fulmer, president of Four Friends Development Inc., which owns the RiverStone Inn.
The 27 units were constructed at Pleasant Valley Modular Homes Inc. in Pine Grove, Pa., and are being trucked to the RiverStone Inn site.
It will take three days to set them in place using the crane, said Scott Hope, owner of Silver Maple Homes Inc. of Dushore, which is serving as the general contractor for the project and which helped engineers at Pleasant Valley Homes design it.
Fulmer said he hoped to see the building operational within the next month.
"We've already booked rooms" in the new building, Murrelle said.
Besides the 40 guest rooms, the new building will have a breakfast area, a lobby area, an in-house laundry for guests, and a business center, where guests can use computers, fax machines and printers, Murrelle said.
There will be high-speed wireless Internet access throughout the building, he said.
Four Friends Development will be looking at how much demand there is for the rooms in the building, Fulmer said. If the demand is sufficient, Four Friends Development might expand the Comfort Inn, which the company also owns, by 40 to 50 rooms, he said.
The expansion of the Comfort Inn site could take place through an addition to the Comfort Inn building or it could be a free-standing hotel, which would not have a franchise, on the Comfort Inn property, Fulmer said.
Fulmer has said he believes the modular construction for the RiverStone Inn expansion will be "superior" to conventional construction.
"Everything is done precisely," he has said. "It's all built in a controlled environment."
While the building will have modular construction, it will appear like a normal building, he said.
"A lot of the new homes around here (are modular homes), but you can't tell they are modular (construction)," he said, adding that they look like conventionally constructed homes.
Fulmer has said that the natural gas industry is driving the need for more hotel rooms in the county.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail: email@example.com.
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Copyright (c) 2011, The Daily Review, Towanda, Pa.
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