SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Heavy machinery grading dirt has resumed at the construction site for the new Coast Hills Credit Union headquarters in Santa Maria.
Work was halted a little over two weeks ago soon after excavation began when crews exposed discolored soil.
"At that point, we demobilized and turned the whole site over to the county and Chevron," said Scott Coe, Coast Hills chief marketing officer. "They took soil samples to determine what exactly they had found."
Coe says officials testing the soil were looking into contamination levels within the dirt.
"What they determined was it was actually not a new sump, but the old sump that was used near the old oil well and that particular sump had been re-mediated by the county in the early 2000's," Coe said.
When Coast Hills was informed of testing results, they received good news.
"They cleared the site," Coe said. "Cleared the dirt and we actually put the dirt back into the same hole."
Once the company received clearance, work resumed immediately at the site, which is located on the Enos Ranch project next to Lowe's Home Improvement.
"The site is safe, for our crews, for everybody," said Coe. "It will be compacted with an additional seven feet of dirt on top of that."
The testing period did halt work on the property for two weeks.
However, with the overall completion of the project not scheduled for almost a year and a half, the short delay will likely only be a minor bump in the road.
"You never like to lose two weeks at this point, but the fact that we were able to re-mediate the situation and the way it was re-mediated, it allowed us to get back on track very quickly and we are on a roll right now," said Coe.
Coe adds crews will continue to work the dirt for another couple of weeks. The foundation is scheduled to be laid in September, while the metal structure of the building is set to go up in October.
"Our timeline has us opening up the facility in the first quarter of 2019," said Coe.
When completed, the building will sit at the high-visibility corner of Highway 101 and Bettervavia Rd.
"This is really the gateway to the city now," said Coe. "We have taken that responsibility and created a building that we feel is very unique, but also something that everybody that drives by, works at, or who visits as a member, is going to be extremely proud of."
The 90,000 square foot facility will rise three stories, with a Coast Hills branch and community room located on the first floor.
The company will lease space on the second floor and occupy the third floor with its corporate headquarters.
According to the company, 150 employees will immediately work in the building when it opens.
The new building will replace Coast Hills' existing headquarters, which is located in Vandenberg Village.