Cost to fix S. Deerfield Grammar School? $1 million

SOUTH DEERFIELD — To get the former South Deerfield Grammar School in perfect condition, the town would have to replace the roof with a new slate roof, upgrade the HVAC and electrical service, install an elevator, power wash the exterior building and repair the chimney cricket for an estimated $1 million.

Overall, the historic building at 67 North Main St. has “good bones,” said Gregory Farmer, a consultant for Agricola Corp.

EDM Architects of Pittsfield and Agricola Corp. of Chicopee provided the Deerfield Historical Commission a draft report this week of its evaluation of the structural integrity of the building that houses the Frontier Senior Center.

The town hired the consultants to study the condition and potential of reuse of the building for $6,800 in Community Preservation Act money. The project came under budget at $6,080.

The proposed renovation costs do not include the costs of any interior renovations for either its current use or any renovations to accommodate a different tenant. The final report would recommend potential uses.

The purpose of the study was to establish the condition of the building so the town could next discuss what to do with it.

The historical commission does not have any specific uses in mind.

“There is nothing in the building that is a critical concern that would make it impossible to use,” Farmer said.

The building, constructed in 1888, now houses the senior center.

The consultants estimated the cost to fix up the building would be $1 million, which they said was reasonable for today’s market.

“Reuse of the building is very feasible. It’s not a particularly expensive project. We didn’t find anything that would drive up the cost,” Farmer said.

Farmer advised the Historical Commission to nominate the building to the National Historic Register. The nomination process can take 12 to 18 months.

“The Massachusetts Historical Commission would love to see a historic district in South Deerfield,” Farmer said.

The building is currently in disrepair with the second floor inaccessible and the attic stairs sealed off.

While the structure is in good condition, some proposed modifications that are expected include the addition of an exterior elevator and stairway addition, roofing and flashing replacement, exterior cleaning, window replacement, remediation of interior hazardous materials and HVACs, plumbing, fire protection and electrical system upgrades.

The consultants found that there are several areas where the roofing has failed where water stains are accumulating. There is also lead and other potentially hazardous materials in the flooring and interior paint of the walls and non-compliant interior stairs, which would require an addition of an exterior, compliant stairway and enclosure.

The consultants also recommended the entire building be lightly power washed or cleaned by a mason to remove dirt and any loose mortar. After the wall is clean, any loose mortar should be raked out and all non-original mortar cut out.

The slate shingle roof is approaching the end of its useful life and would need replacement.

The chimney cricket — the ridge structure on the side of a roof designed to divert water around a chimney — should also be replaced.

Since the foundation walls of the basement are not sealed off and there are no existing gutters or drainage system around the building to carry rain water away, the basement continues to be damp.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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