Lavonia Train Depot Renovations Continuing

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Officials said that renovation work on the historic Lavonia Train Depot is costing more than first planned.

Crews have been working for the past several months to take the building back to how it looked when it first opened in 1912.

Lavonia City Manager Gary Fesperman said much of the interior work is now complete. In addition, Fesperman said all of the lighting is in place and the front area is just about down.

Crews are also restoring the original ticket master office in the front of the depot, along with the front and central waiting rooms. Fesperman said the original central waiting room will be used as a small meeting room and what was once the back baggage area will be used as a larger meeting room.

However, Fesperman said the city encountered some cost overrides when workers pulled away years of sheet rock and earlier updates and discovered a lot of termite damage to the original structure.

According to Fesperman, termite damage was found in the original slat walls and along baseboards, as well in the much of the original wood flooring in the front office and in the back baggage area.

Fesperman said workers also found unexpected roof damage that needed immediate repair, which was an additional $10,000.

The total cost for all of the renovations now will run about $248,000, according to Fesperman. Most of the restoration is being paid for with grant money and from the city’s reserve fund.

Fesperman said that anytime a restoration project is done, cost overruns are expected because unexpected things come up and this project was not different.

A centennial celebration and open house at the Lavonia Train Depot is set to take place the end of December.