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Nemacolin Resort will reopen Sundial Ski Lodge after February fire

| Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, 2:26 p.m.
Joe Hardy (center), founder of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County; general manager Chris Plummer (left); and Phil Hundley of DRS Architects celebrate after Hardy cut a ceremonial ribbon to officially open the newly constructed Sundial Lodge on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Guests get a look at the interior of the recently completed Sundial Lodge at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier

When Joe Hardy learned in February that a ski lodge was on fire at the posh Nemacolin Woodlands Resort he founded in Fayette County, he made a quick call to its general manager, Chris Plummer.

“I said to Chris, ‘I just heard on the radio ... the damn place is on fire,' ” an animated Hardy said on Thursday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking completion of a new lodge at the resort.

“I said, ‘I hope you have it contained,' ” Hardy said.

“Oh, yeah, we got it contained,” Hardy said, jokingly recalling Plummer's response. “I came out the next day and it was just ashes. His definition of containment, I don't know.”

The rustic Sundial Ski Lodge was destroyed in the Feb. 12 blaze. State police determined the fire was accidental and electrical in nature at the lodge, which had opened in 1995, said resort spokesman Jeff Nobers.

The blaze was visible for miles around the Farmington area. Three firefighters were hurt, but no guests were injured.

On Thursday, Hardy and daughter Maggie Hardy Magerko, resort owner and president, were hosts for a sneak peak at the new lodge in Farmington, which will open on Christmas Eve.

“It was a tragedy when the fire happened, but in hindsight, it worked out,” Magerko said. “It was awesome, the timing.”

The timing was right because it allowed architects to design the lodge with the knowledge that a bowling alley, arcade games and other amenities from the resort's Wild Side entertainment center would be relocated there, Magerko said. The entertainment center is under renovation to house the Lady Luck Casino, which is projected to open mid-summer.

Magerko said the building was renamed to simply Sundial Lodge to reflect its year-round use.

In addition to offering ski and snowboard rentals in winter, the lodge has a bar, restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining areas, the bowling alley, arcade games and an adventure center.

Untouched by the fire, a sundial sculpture that stood outside the original lodge was left in place at the entrance to the new lodge.

Designed by DRS Architects of Pittsburgh, the 25,000-square-foot building features 200-foot-high, floor-to-ceiling glass windows that face out onto the top of the ski slope and mountain. Visitors who enter the building see 22-foot-high Douglas firs flanking an indoor fireplace and stone chimney.

“The goal was to create a functional, dynamic and expressive space,” said Paul Cali, design architect. “The other structure was very rustic, with a wood exterior, so this is very different.”

Construction on the lodge began in July. Phil Hundley, DRS principal, and Cali said it typically takes up to two years to design and construct such a project. They credited the Sundial Lodge's quick turnaround to having “the best people” in the business working on it.

“What a place this is,” Hardy said, gesturing toward the lodge's timber roof, fireplace, chimney and massive glass windows. “I mean, wow, this really makes a statement.”

The lodge opens to the public at 9 a.m. Monday.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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