Building Excellence for over 110 years



Shrine Mont, Inc.


Basye, Virginia


Don Swofford & Associates


$1.0 million


April 1987

When the owners of the Orkney Springs Hotel decided to restore the elegance and charm of the 19th century structure, they knew there would be many challenges. Their vision was to completely renovate the building with minimal loss of its original structure and integrity. The Nielsen team accepted the challenge and embarked on a project that would involve replacing the original foundation, restoring the hotel’s original interior beauty, and upgrading to meet code requirements. Renovations included incorporating additional bathrooms, adding a sprinkler system, a fire alarm system, an elevator, modern kitchen equipment, and upgrading exit door hardware to comply with building codes.


Replacing the foundation of the five-story building presented the greatest challenge. Nielsen Project Manager Bill Fisher explains, “First, all the plaster was removed to lighten the job of lifting the building to get to the foundation.” Nielsen shored up the building with oak girders and steel beams in order to access the foundation. Once the building was elevated, crews, equipment and machinery (including a full-size bulldozer) were mobilized under the hotel to excavate new foundation footings, fill them with concrete and steel, and match them to the original peers and supports. Much of the work was completed on hands and knees. The cramped space, harsh weather conditions, and several tons of building hanging overheard all contributed to creating an exceptionally challenging work environment for Nielsen’s crew.

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