Old Main ceiling repairs could cost around $84,000

Fixing the second floor ceiling at Old Main Historical & Community Arts Center in Galesville will cost between $74,000 and $84,000, and the Galesville city council unanimously approved proceeding with construction drawings for the fix at last Thursday’s meeting.

There is no guarantee for the construction, and the drawings have already been budgeted by the city.

The third floor of Old Main, which often houses bands and music events, is currently unusable due to stability concerns. Drawings approved by the council will mock the addition of metal channels into the second floor ceiling to stabilize the floor.

Currently, the floor is capable of withstanding 40 pounds per square foot, similar to a classroom. Assembly, the kind of space used for music and events, requires about 100 pounds per square foot, and the metal channels will bring the building to code in that regard.

Brad Simonson of HSR Associates proposed the ideas to the council, also bringing two other options that would not have worked due to costs and practicality of the space.

If the council eventually decides to proceed with the construction in the next phase, money will be a later discussion. There is talk of the city and Old Main working together on the costs.

“The whole idea behind the phases and giving you options is so you can make decisions as we go and you don’t get locked into something that doesn’t make sense,” Simonson told the council.

The current lease of Old Main says the lessee of the city owned building pays for maintenance such as this, and Old Main Director Diane Thatcher said she is willing to fundraise to help pay, but it can be difficult because some grants are not applicable since she does not own the building.

“What I’m hoping our intent is is that we will work together with the city, not make it the city’s responsibility to come up with all the money,” Thatcher said, hoping for help with some municipal grants.

Councilor Dave Carlson said he would not be against the city paying for the construction.

“I think that the city should pay the lion’s share if not all  of these repairs. This is not something that developed just recently, this is an old building,” Carlson said before making the motion to proceed with construction drawings.

The council approved the motion 5-0 with Tom Thatcher abstaining to avoid conflict of interest.

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