Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 11, 1998

Study results in on Winsted city hall

By MAGGIE SCHUETTE-VOSS

Two studies assessing the condition of the old Winsted city hall have been completed and the findings were presented to the city council Tuesday by Gary Turpening, architect with Rieke, Carroll and Mueller (RCM).

In an effort to decide what to do with the old city hall building, the council approved a three phase study/needs project, conducted by RCM, the city's engineers. No type of renovation for the city hall has been approved. The studies are only informational.

The first phase was composed of the two studies. One looked at the condition of the exterior brick, the other was an engineering study that looked at the entire condition of the building.

Condition of brick

To determine the condition of the exterior brick, RCM contracted Mark Macphereson of the Macpherson-Towne Company, experts in building restoration and building preservation.

According to the report by Macphereson, considering the age of the building - 103 years old - the exterior masonry appears to be in fair condition, and a "comprehensive" restoration program would return the exterior masonry surfaces to a sound condition.

After restoration, the brick would require "only normal maintenance expected in a masonry structure."

Macphereson noted the damage on some areas of brick and mortar has been caused by water; this and other damage is repairable.

Macphereson outlined two options for repairing the exterior brick. The first, at an estimated cost of $70,000, would be to cut out and repoint deteriorated mortar joints in the exposed brickwork and stonework. This estimate is based on repointing approximately 25 percent of the mortar joints in the areas most in need.

Work would also include cutting out and caulking the end joints in the stone trim, removing and replacing deteriorated brick in the working area, caulking the joint between the building and the sidewalk, and repairing and/or replacing the existing cement wall wash cap.

The function of the wash cap is to drain water from the top of the wall. Macphersons' cost estimate on this option includes an allowance for replacing 1,200 bricks.

The second option, with an estimated cost of $93,000, is to cut out and repoint all mortar joints in the exposed brickwork and stonework, cut out and caulk the end joints in the stone trim, remove and replace deteriorated brick where needed, repair and/or replace the existing cement wash wall cap. This estimate also include an allowance for replacing 1,200 bricks.

These two cost estimates are just for repairing the areas of damaged brick. Other costs would be incurred.

All the following costs are estimates: cleaning the brick, $8,000; caulk around windows, doors, etc. $4,500; install new sheet metal covers on existing stone and brick ledges, $4,000.

Two estimates were given for installing a new wall cap. Cost for a one made of sheet metal would be about $7,500. To install a new stone or precast concrete wall cap was estimated at $27,000.

Engineering study

The engineering study was designed to determine if it is reasonable to save and reuse the building for public use, and compares the cost of building a new city hall or restoring the old one.

Turpening, said the building can be restored, updated, and an addition built on. This would increase the building size to 11,985 square feet.

Turpening estimated the cost to renovate the building to the "very nicest it could be" at $1.3 million. He said to build a new three-story building of the same size on the old city hall site, or to build a two-story building at another site would cost in the area of $1.5 million.

If the building were renovated, the state would kick in $75,000 to restore the exterior.

The building was examined in March, and Turpening said the roof trusses are in total failure.

"Most of the building appears to be sound, but built of inadequate structural strength to support the loading of office and gather spaces under the current Uniform Building Code," he said.

Turpening said several of the trusses have rotted and the roof must be removed and replaced. For this, RCM has created two options.

Both options would use microlaminated beams because they can be built to fit in the same masonry beam pocket locations of the original trusses.

The first option would be to build a simple flat roof with tapered insulation, then drop a new ceiling or leave the flat wood ceiling exposed with new beams.

The second option is to take pieces from the existing trusses or micro-lam beams and use them to create a roof that will replicate the original.

Turpening said because of the roof, reconstruction of the building will be tricky. " . . . the roof support system basically holds the walls together. When the roof is taken off of the walls, the building will be in fragile condition until the new roof is in place.

"For this reason only a very experienced general contractor should be considered for the project," he said.

Although the first floor is solid, neither it nor the second floor meet current codes for loadings. Both floors would have to be reinforced.

Mechanical and electrical systems are also not up to code and will have to be scrapped.

To increase workable space and allow for mandated handicapped accessibility, Turpenings' design includes removing the east wall and placing an addition there. The addition would be 48'x28' and three stories high to match the existing floor levels.

Phase II

The next step in this project is to proceed with the planning phase. In this step, the overall needs of the employees and the city itself will be looked at.

Planned, but no date set, are public meetings where people can have input as to what they want in a building, i.e., a public meeting room, kitchen for senior dining, etc.


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