Luray Caverns fulfilling ‘decades-long’ plan with new entrance

The following article written by PAGE NEWS and COURIER staff writer Wendy Bundy, was originally published on 10/12/2017.


LURAY – There may soon be a new way to enter Luray Caverns – and no steps, going in or coming out.

“Luray Caverns will soon realize a decades-long goal of eliminating the remaining steps on the 1-1/4 mile tour route in the world-renowned attraction,” said John Shaffer, Director of Public Relations for Luray Caverns Corporation.  “The only steps leading from the Entrance Lobby into the caverns will be bypassed by excavating a 164-foot tunnel into the hillside adjacent to the Entrance Buiding.”

The work is being completed by Racey Engineering of Luray and Lantz Construction of Broadway.  A public notice was issued by Lantz Construction on June 26 regarding this project.

The notice, signed by Kevin Gabel, Director of Construction Management for Lantz, stated, “blasting of rock for construction will be taking place at Luray Caverns between now and October.  Appropriate parties will be provided with advance notice prior to each blasting event as required by the Town of Luray.”

This project is a continuation of work that began with the late H.T.N. (Ted) Graves, longtime Luray Caverns president, according to Shaffer.  Graves began improving the walkways by adding brick, concrete and ramps through the tour portion of the caverns.  While that part was finished in 1975, the steps into the building remained on the drawing board “due to uncertain methods and cost.”

“The exterior appearance of the historic Entrance Building will not be altered,” said Shaffer, “and the new entrance and walkway will maintain the cosmetic elements of the existing structure for a consistent outward appearance.”

There will also be a covered walkway connecting the existing building with the new entrance.

“Current President, John Graves and Sr. Vice President, Rod Graves over the past several years renewed efforts to achieve their father’s goal,” Shaffer stated.

The plan for this project was completed in March.  It is anticipated that the work will be complete late this year.

Once completed, Luray Caverns will be one of just a few underground attractions that provide tours on all-paved access, according to Shaffer.  This will make “the attraction more accessible to visitors today and into the future,” he added.

Lantz Construction Selected as Contractor for $3,000,000 Friendship Industries Expansion

PRESS RELEASE | Harrisonburg, VA | October 10, 2017:

Friendship Industries & Able Solutions Launch $3,000,000 Expansion | 32,000 square ft. of Warehouse and Production Space Operational 2nd Quarter of 2018 | Expected to Create 50 new jobs

Friendship Industries, Inc. and sister company, Able Solutions Inc. are set to nearly double their square footage at their company headquarters at 801 Friendship Drive.  A social enterprise with a mission to provide employment and training opportunities for persons who may have barriers to employment, Friendship Industries has been collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency to secure financing for this project.

Friendship Industries and Able Solutions provide consumer products packaging for a number of Fortune 500 Companies across the United States.  Their core business caters to the many configurations of club packs found in the major big box store chains.

George Homan, President and CEO, states, “With this expansion we will ensure our continued growth in the consumer projects packaging business for decades to come.  The added high bay warehouse space will increase our ability to cater to the ever expanding e-commerce business.  Most importantly, we will increase our ability to serve those who need employment the most – those with barriers to employment, with the possibility of 50 new jobs being created and sustained.”

Valley Engineering is serving as project manager for this expansion with Lantz Construction being selected as the contractor.  Interim financing is being provided by Union Bank and Trust.

Friendship Industries, established in 1964, is a not-for-profit business with a mission to serve our community by developing and maintaining employment and training opportunities for persons with disabilities in integrated work environments.  Friendship Industries has three commercial divisions: government contracting, secure document destruction, and contract packaging.  Able Solutions, Inc., an affiliate of Friendship Industries, was founded in 2012, and provides on-the-job training for people with barriers to employments.  Together, the companies’ missions serve Harrisonburg and Rockingham by providing employment to over 150 people.

CONTACT: Tom Hook ( or 540-434-9586)

Superintendent Jeremie Southerly Judges Contest at Rockingham County Fair

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, Lantz Construction Superintendent Jeremie Southerly was one of three judges for the Rockingham County Fair’s 2017 AGC/MTC Construction Trade Skills Competition.   Jeremie has volunteered in this capacity for the Carpentry event for the past five years.

For this annual event, Massanutten Technical Center students compete in 4-hour electrical, carpentry, HVAC and masonry skills challenges with each trade competition being held on a different night during Fair Week.

The Valley District of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) sponsors the contest, which is held in the AGCVA Career and Technical Education Pavilion (also called the AGC/MTC Pavilion).

The student competitors were tasked with making a bench this year and were judged on safety, accuracy/precision, ability to follow drawings, material usage, and overall appearance of end product and work zone.  All benches made during the contest were donated to the Rockingham County Fair Association.

Thanks to Jeremie for volunteering his expertise and representing Lantz Construction Company once again!

Resource Manager Dwight Kimble Retires

Lantz’s Jeff Deavers Participates in BHS Community Welcome

On Tuesday, August 22nd Lantz’s Chief Preconstruction Officer Jeff Deavers was one of dozens of community members to welcome Broadway High School students back to school.  Parents, school board members and local business leaders held signs with motivational phrases as they lined the school’s entryway at 7:30 AM to greet and encourage the students.  Participants in this second annual Community Welcome also signed a large poster that will be on display in the school as a daily reminder of the community’s support.  Jennifer “Jen” Knick, a BHS English teacher, is the force behind the event, which was covered by WHSV TV3 and the Daily News Record.  This unified, positive display is designed to show students that their community cares and hopefully inspire the business leaders of tomorrow.

Photo of local community members who participated in the 2017 BHS Community Welcome is courtesy of BHS Photojournalism