Jackson Elementary students tour the CPV Fairview Energy site
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - It's a project that's been years in the making, and now, the natural gas power plant in Cambria County is starting to take shape.
Construction of the Fairview Energy Center along Route 2-71 is ahead of schedule, about 30 percent complete.
The gas line and 8-mile water line is almost finished and in place, and the major big pieces of equipment are on the site.
The vice president of Competitive Power Ventures, Mike Resca, said there are well over 400 workers on the site each day.
Resca said when you add in the main contractors, that's another 100 employees managing all the construction.
"It's drawing a lot from the local community,” Resca said. “We're seeing a lot of uptick in business from all the local businesses, whether that's food, fuel or lodging. Sometimes finding a hotel around here has been tough just because of all the workers who have been brought here."
The natural gas power plant is expected to be fully operational in early 2020.
If you pass through or live in Jackson Township, you know the impact this power plant is having on the community.
Some curious minds who have watched the landscape change were given rare access to the site.
Students from Jackson Elementary School were given special access to the CPV Fairview Energy Site for a wetlands tour.
"Fifth-graders were here last year, and they got to see the first development and the project getting started. They're coming back this year, getting to experience the progression as it goes. We hope to bring them back in middle school when the plant is up and running," said Patty Burkey, a science teacher at Jackson Elementary School.
CPV built the acre of wetlands habitat last year. The corporation was required to because its future power plant affected some of the existing wetlands.
"The plants grew a lot. Last year, it was like a big lake,” said fifth-grader Xavier Jorinscoay.
The landscape is changing, too. Not far from where the students were, hundreds of people were hard at work building the state-of-the-art natural gas power plant.
Even with a glimpse of a big crane, other, more important things had their attention.
"I like the fact you can sometimes find a bunch of animals. There are cool little bugs," said fifth-grader Abigail Adams.
CPV said that the wetlands project is just a small part of the significant investment the corporation has made in that area.