Beginning with the fire-exits, the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall has begun the projects promised over the last year. The Friends have raised enough money (through donations, fundraisers and grants) to get going on the basement improvements which we’ve been planning for a couple of years.
The bathroom renovations will start later, we’re hoping in the spring of 2015, after we raise enough money to complete that phase. The Friends have received a grant to cover 50% of the total cost of about $50,000, but we still need to complete raising money for the remaining half.
Right now, the existing stairs that led to the fire exit on the NW corner of the building have been removed, and contractor John Mallery is showing how the new stairs will run, using a new stair-stringer. On Monday, a concrete-cutting company sliced through the foundation wall. Soon, the new stairs and a new landing inside will be framed in. A wall will divide the stairway from the upstairs Hall. New fire exit signs and emergency lights will show the way out, through a new exterior door, and there will be a new concrete landing on the outside.
After that, John will build the new vestibule around the “front” basement stairs, with a fire-door and “fire-code” sheetrock-covered walls. All of these changes will make the Fire Marshal much happier with our downstairs space, and we will ask him to increase our legal occupancy for the downstairs from 49 (our current limit) to at least 100!
Check out the changes next time you come to the Hall!
The photo at the top of this email shows the concrete going into the forms for the new Grange sign. Kurt Giavara (right) supervised setting the “big-foot” type forms the week before; I arranged to get some stainless steel bars to anchor in the concrete along with more commercial post-bases. On Friday the 14th, we had the forms filled with concrete, and placed the stainless bars and dummy “posts” in the concrete, at the correct spacing to match the posts and cherry cross-piece donated by TimberHomes LLC. Dave Cain is preparing the lettering on the cherry piece so that we can erect the parts soon.
Looking for carpentry volunteers to help us put up the posts, and to build and install the small roof for the sign. If there is someone who could bring an 8′ or 10′ stepladder, that would be an extra help! Please contact me if you can help us! As usual I can be reached at 225-8921, or the email address for these Grange Notes.
After the whole sign is up, we’ll have electrician Alana Norway pull wires through the conduits placed during the summer by another crew of volunteers. She’ll also install the fluorescent lights which will illuminate the sign. We’ve decided to put the lights on a timer so they will be on from about dusk to midnight, so our sign will be visible.
Our intent is to increase our recognition, so people will know where our Hall is, and that it is available for rental. The sign will give the website, and the phone number for rentals–see below for a transition in our rental agent. As regular readers will know, we badly need to get more tenants to balance our budget. And providing a Hall for public use is the major community service which our Grange provides.
We’re making the Grange a safer place with our projects to improve the fire exits from the basement level. This re-construction of both exits, funded by the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, is in response to the requirements of the Fire Marshal. The new stairs and door on the NW corner of the building have been built by contractor John Mallery; he hired a concrete-cutting company to cut through the outside wall of the basement. John has also framed in the new vestibule at the South end of the basement, around the existing stairs. The new door has a magnetic hold-open, so it can be open for foot traffic, but will close automatically if the new smoke/fire detectors are triggered. The sheetrock and painting are done, and the new doors are installed. Electrical work has been roughed-in and must be completed before the Fire Marshal will sign off on the project–and increase our legal capacity in the basement from its current 49, up to at least 100, we expect!
We are still fundraising and arranging financing for the 2nd phase of this project, rebuilding the bathrooms on the basement level. Keep in touch for updates on this part of the project too! And many thanks to the Legislature for funding the “Cultural Facilities” grant which will be paying for 1/2 of this project–once we raise the matching funds we need!
The fire exit at the northwest corner has been completely re-built; the original stairs were too steep and too little headroom; we had to cut through the concrete wall of the basement to make the stairs come out at ground level. You can see the difference from the outline of the old stairs on the wall!
The Fire Marshal required that we build a vestibule with 1-hour fire rated walls and a door, to separate the downstairs and upstairs levels. The new door in the vestibule can be held open with an electro-magnet. If we ever have a fire, the new smoke alarms on either side of the door will make the magnet release to separate the upstairs and downstairs spaces.
We’ve got the permit and we’ve got the posts and crossbar
Our sign project is moving forward really well now. The overall plan is shown at the top of this newsletter–though the text and the sign part dimensions are not yet completely decided. The arched cherry plank shown is about 80″ from end to end (not including the tenons which will go through the posts). There are 2 posts, 5-1/2″ sq. x 12′ long, which we will cut down as needed to match the plans, which have been approved by the Town of Berlin. These parts have been donated by TimberHomes LLC, and we thank them along with all the other volunteers who are making this possible!
Mike Ziegler has volunteered to bring a tractor with a backhoe down from Glover–we’re working on arranging a trailer to do the transporting. This will dig the holes for the concrete footings.
Dave Cain has volunteered to paint our signs–the exact lettering has not been defined, but will be designed to be visible to cars driving by, and to show up clearly under the lights, high-output fluorescent fixtures installed under the small roof at the top.
Kurt Giavara has volunteered to be in charge of the construction–but we will need help to get the job done safely. Assembling the two posts and the crossbar, and hoisting them on top of the concrete footings, and doing that safely will require another 6 or 8 people, to help Kurt and me. Please contact me to put your name on the list to help out!
Tim Swartz, President