Council on Aging building repairs now include vestibule

  • Architect Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno told the Selectboard about the previously unseen damage to the building. file photo 

  • Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 9/13/2018 10:11:29 PM

TURNERS FALLS — The Montague Selectboard unanimously approved an allocation of about $2,500 for additional repairs needed to the building used by the Council on Aging.

While working on the front porch replacement of the senior center, workers found parts of the vestibule were rotted.

Architect Chris Sawyer-Laucanno came to the Selectboard to request an allocation of $2,503 from the community discretionary unallocated account.

Sawyer-Laucanno said he received reports last Wednesday that the crew began to demolish the steps at the Senior Center and when they pulled the steps they realized that the vestibule — which is an interior part of the building — was “totally unsupported because all of the supports has rotted out underneath.”

The building is located in the Turners Falls Historic District and the work performed needs to be in accordance with historic preservation standards.

He said the money is for repairs no one anticipated in the project. The original scope of the project was to remove and dispose of the existing front entrance, including the stairs, roof, deck and landing.

“They called me in a panic, and asked what to do,” Sawyer-Laucanno said. “I said to stop what they were doing.”

When he inspected the area himself, he said it was a “scary” sight.

“Basically, paint is holding up the interior of the two-story vestibule at this moment, is all I can figure,” Sawyer-Laucanno said. “I touched under the board and carpenter ants came flowing out and the board crumbled in my hand, we didn’t need the bar to get it out.”

Because the building inspector, Chris Rice, was in a training session, Sawyer-Laucanno said he designed the repairs to the vestibule himself, which were later approved by Rice.

The front porch replacement project is being done by LaRochelle Construction of Springfield. The initial bid came in at $28,500. The cost is now $31,003, including the money allocated by the Selectboard on Monday to include additional labor and materials needed to address the vestibule.

Sawyer-Laucanno said the work on the project began Tuesday, and they expect it to take about two more weeks.

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