A Historic Restoration in 2010
The 120-year-old building was in disrepair when Lyme Properties purchased the property in the summer of 2009, but Lyme was committed to restoring the iconic structure and hoped it would continue to function as an integral part of the neighborhood. A full restoration of the building was necessary, and a special permit for conditional use from the Town of Hartford was required in order to achieve the intended goal of a multipurpose event facility.
The building is a “contributing structure” in the Wilder Historic District and part of the Town of Hartford, Vermont. Lyme Properties selected UK Architects of Hanover, N.H. to prepare construction plans that preserved the original architectural character of the structure, while bringing the building up to modern building and safety codes, including ADA accessibility requirements.
The rehabilitation of the 5000 square foot building included the installation of new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that make the building energy efficient, cost effective to operate, and representative of first class building standards. A fire suppression system was installed to comply with public assembly regulations.
Minor additions were made to the east and north sides of the existing building, utilizing the architectural vocabulary of the historic structure. These additions were necessary to provide ADA access, proper egress, and code compliant restrooms. On site parking for 17 vehicles is part of the approved site plan.
It is the philosophy of Lyme Properties to engage the neighbors as part of its development planning process. In the case of the Wilder Center, Lyme invited 75 abutters and nearby residents to attend an introductory meeting held in the church building on September 14, 2009, and a follow-up meeting on October 6th, 2009.
The meetings served as an opportunity to learn more about the history of the building, and for Lyme to gain valuable input from members of the community about how they wanted to see the building used. Details about each meeting and the results of the interactive participation surveys can be found here:
Working With The Town
The result of the Neighborhood Planning Process was a proposed plan that required Lyme Properties to apply to the Town of Hartford for a conditional use that would allow the intended uses: public assembly, education, and office. The application was filed on October 26, 2009. The Hartford Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the application unanimously and the renovation process began in December 2009.
The Steeple Repair
Brian Gardner Carpentry of Etna, N.H was hired to complete the steeple restoration during the winter of 2009–2010. The building’s steeple, including the purple-faced clock, dormers, and enclosed belfry, required a major structural repair after years of limited maintenance and harsh New England winters. The original slate roof pattern was matched and restored by Hayward Roofing of Chelsea, Vt.
Trumbull-Nelson Construction Company of Hanover, N.H. was engaged for the second phase of the project, which included the historically accurate exterior restoration, a full interior renovation, and installation of new mechanical systems to ensure that the building meets modern building code and life-safety requirements. Home Partners Painting of White River Junction, Vt. restored the original multi-colored paint scheme to the exterior of the building.