Plains Museum Completes Lecture Room

NOLAN STOUT Daily News-Record
PUBLICATION: Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA)


DATE: July 24, 2016

TIMBERVILLE — There just never seemed to be enough room for events at Plains District Memorial Museum.

Bringing in speakers created a challenge for museum officials, especially with finding room for spectators.

“Whenever we had lectures … or special programs, we had to move all the display boards in the museum for seating,” said Helen Smith, chairman of the museum’s board of directors and exhibit coordinator. “We realized that that was a whole lot of unnecessary work.”

After two years and a few bumps in the road, the museum has completed a new lecture room.

The new 1,300-square-foot Carpenter Foundation Community Room has space for chairs and contains two bathrooms, three storage rooms and office space. It is in the back of the museum.

“The museum had a real need for this room,” Smith said.

Design work began more than two years ago, she said. Construction started in February and wrapped up in June.

The room, constructed by Lantz Construction Co. of Broadway, cost $185,000, Smith said.

The museum contracted with Frazier Associates in Staunton for design work.

It is named after the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, which gave a $75,000 grant for the work in 2014 and supports arts projects around the country. Local businesses, museum members and civic organizations also contributed.

“We are a free museum, operated entirely by volunteers,” Smith said. “And totally dependent on the community and the local government for our funding.”

She said Earl Fink, whose wife Sharon is on the museum’s board, contributed an “invaluable” amount of time and work to reduce the project’s cost.

It will be used for museum-sponsored events, such as the monthly lecture series and other special programs, Smith said.

“We feel like this offers an opportunity for us to do some new things that would be important to the whole Plains District Community,” she said.

The first use came on June 5 for a presentation of local servicemen who died in foreign wars.

The museum has an exhibit on local veterans which will run through November, Smith said.

The next use will come during a September reception recognizing donors.

The museum was founded in 1998 and operated in the building housing the Timberville Police Department until 2008, when it moved to the former Rockingham Mill Co. building. The lecture room is the first major expansion of the building since the relocation.

Beverly Garber, the town historian, said the museum has used about half the building at 176 Main St.

“We haven’t even got a good start yet,” he said.

Contact Nolan Stout at 574-6278 or

Riddleberger Set To Expand Shop

PUBLICATION: Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA)

SECTION: News (Local)

DATE: July 6, 2016

MOUNT CRAWFORD — Riddleberger Brothers Inc. needs a bigger home after taking on work from an affiliated company and moving some of its own job-site work in-house.

Daniel Blosser, Riddleberger’s president and CEO, said the mechanical contractor will expand the sheet-metal shop at its South Valley Pike office partly because it’s begun prefabricating ductwork in the shop instead of building it at job sites.

It’s also taken over metal production for Hess Mechanical Corp., a fellow Comfort Systems USA company in Upper Marlboro, Md., and has started making spiral ductwork for some customers.

Riddleberger, Blosser said, is investing $1.6 million for the building expansion and equipment for the space, which is almost as large as its existing sheet-metal shop. Two to five employees likely will be added to handle the extra production.

Lantz Construction has been contracted to design and build the addition, which will be attached to the rear of the sheet-metal shop at Riddleberger’s office just north of Mount Crawford. Work should begin this month, with the goal of having employees working in the new section by year’s end.

“It’s a pretty substantial investment for a company our size,” Blosser said, “but we think it will pay dividends with the increased business we get from it.”


Blosser said business has been growing since the recession ended in 2009, and the company has been involved in more projects. Prefabricating heating, ventilation and air conditioning duct systems in-house improves efficiency, quality and safety, but is a space eater.

“Ductwork, when it’s prefabricated, it takes up a lot of space,” he said. “With the increase in prefabrication, we needed more space for our own work.”

The need for the addition increased, Blosser said, when Hess’s expansion plans were tabled because it’s considerably less expensive to do the sheet-metal work here and deliver it to Maryland. Riddleberger added a driver to make those deliveries to its payroll, which stands at 326 workers.

The company also had to operate its plasma table, which cuts metal, in two shifts when it took on the Hess business, he said.

The transition began in February 2014, Blosser said. Riddleberger now handles virtually all Hess’ sheet-metal production.

Contact Vic Bradshaw at 574-6279 or


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