Construction of a public-use weigh-in pavilion at the Lewis Smith Lake Dam boat ramp in Walker County hit a milestone this week.
Construction crews began installing steel beams Feb. 3. The beams are the next big step in the project, which began at the first of the year thanks to volunteers from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. Lee Smith, apprenticeship coordinator for Operating Engineers in Birmingham, said the work is good experience for the workers.
“I’ve had probably 20 separate apprentices up here since the first of December working on this, doing the foundation, getting the grading and it’s really good experience for those guys,” Smith said. “They’re getting real-world experience for something that we can give back to.”
The pavilion will feature fish holding tanks, which reduce stress and increase survival rates, and shade for tournament weigh-ins. Freddy Padilla, Corporate Affairs manager at Alabama Power, said the pavilion is funded through a partnership between B.A.S.S. and Alabama Power and constructed with the help of many others.
“We’ve brought other people into this project, such as the State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance,” Padilla said. “That’s what is so cool about this is the private-public partnership. It’s really going to help to invite more tournaments.”
The pavilion is expected to be completed in early spring.