Fire training facility OK'd

The Mooresville Fire Department will construct a five-story, $504,000 building made of prefabricated metal shipping containers in which firefighters from across Iredell and other counties will train to fight fires.

The Mooresville Board of Commissioners voted 5-to-1 last week to build the fire and rescue training facility for $826,607.

The cost includes $322,607 for a 24-foot entrance road, utility extensions, a 150-foot by 150-foot training facility concrete area and a parking area with a security fence.

Mooresville has 25 multi-story buildings, many of them four and five stories, so having the training building is critical, Fire Chief Wes Greene said at a previous commissioners' meeting.

He said the building would save the town $38,000 because firefighters would no longer have to travel for training to a similar facility at Gaston College in Gaston County twice a year. With three shifts, the department makes six trips a year there with its equipment - two trips per shift.

Now, firefighters will be able to train every day, Mooresville Assistant Fire Chief Shane LaCount told the commissioners last week. The department has 87 personnel.

The building will be on town-owned land isolated from the public behind the Mooresville Public Operations Center, 2523 Charlotte Highway (U.S. 21), LaCount said.

The building will have three rooms where firefighters will train in putting out live fires. Firefighters will also practice search and rescue, confined-space and high-angle rescues, forcible-entry techniques and high-rise responses by a single fire company or multiple fire companies.

LaCount said work on the road and utility lines could begin in three months, with the entire project done within a year.

The department, meanwhile, has received $2,000 annual fee commitments to use the building from the Lake Norman, Shepherds, South Iredell, Troutman, Mount Mourne and Sherrills Ford fire departments. Mooresville police plan to train in the building, and Mitchell Community College also intends to use it.

The building will be available to regional fire training schools and fire departments in Rowan and other counties for $2,000 annually.

Mooresville will pay for the project with about $500,000 left from voter-approved bonds for the Public Operations Center, with the remainder coming from the town's fund balance, said Maia Setzer, the town's director of administration and finance.

Commissioner Rhett Dusenbury voted against spending the $826,607, saying half the amount should come from others that use the building.

New home-building company formed

Two longtime members of the Lake Norman home-building industry announced last week the opening of Princeton Builders LLC of Mooresville.

Partners Geoffrey Bowen and Jeffery Cernuto will focus on custom homes valued at $350,000 to $1 million.

Bowen, formerly of EFC Builders, was named 2010 Distinguished Builder of the Year by the N.C. Home Builders Association.

An accredited master builder, Bowen will manage construction of Princeton's residential and commercial projects.

Cernuto, also president of Princeton Management LLC, has developed numerous residential communities and commercial properties in the Lake Norman area. Besides land development, he will oversee company operations.

Their Princeton Collection of new home plan designs was created for their new firm. Aimed at the under $400,000 market, The Hazlenut, The Morningside and The Graymist designs range from 2,409 to 3,056 square feet. Princeton Builders offers homes on its lots and those of its clients.

The new firm also provides home renovation construction services.

Over the years, Bowen has won numerous awards for his new homes and renovation projects from the Lake Norman Home Builders Association in its annual Best of the Lake Design Competition and Parade of Homes. He is 2012 vice president of the association's board of directors.

Details: 704-799-0205;

Historic Kannapolis home opens for business

When Kannapolis resident Jamison Lee bought the Harvey Jeremiah Peeler House downtown in 2004, he wasn't sure what the future would hold but knew it was a beautiful home that deserved to be restored with love.

After seven years of research, sweat and dedication, the Peeler House, at 101 S. Ridge Ave., is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers a venue for business meetings, social events and professional offices. It's the first property in Kannapolis' mill village to receive the National Register designation.

On Thursday, Lee is scheduled to host Mayor Robert Misenheimer and guests for a ribbon-cutting and tour of the property.

Built in 1923, the Craftsman and Colonial Revival style home is beside Cannon Village and the N.C. Research Campus. It's one of only a few private homes in the village not built by Cannon Mills.

Peeler was superintendent of Kannapolis schools in the early 1920s and built the home for his wife and eight children. After his death in 1929, the family boarded teachers and local mill workers. It was a funeral home from 1950 to1968. Since that time, the house was often vacant and suffered from neglect, Lee said.

Oak Tree sidewalks OK'd

The Mooresville Board of Commissioners unanimously approved sidewalks last week for Oak Tree Road from Lake Norman Elementary School to Brawley School Road.

Commissioners awarded a $168,913 contract for the work to W.M. Warr & Son Inc. of Monroe. A project timetable wasn't available by the Observer's deadline last week. The project is part of a Safe Routes to School national grants program.