A renovation inside Revelstoke City Hall is underway, and a new entranceway and landscaping are planned for the Second Street.
The plans for the new Second Street entrance include four new benches, new sidewalks, environmental drainage systems, a large sign, improved doorways and a bicycle rack.
The cost for the renovations project? That’s unknown – city staff are finalizing the plan and should have an estimate by the end of the summer, when parts of the ongoing renovations will already be completed.
••• See the bottom of this story for detailed reports on Revelstoke City Hall renovations•••
City of Revelstoke CAO Tim Palmer presented the exterior landscaping plans to council at their July 9 meeting. He explained the interior renovations are about to commence; the lower floor of Revelstoke City Hall is expected to be gutted in the coming weeks.
The physical reshuffling of offices at city hall coincides with the recent organizational changes. City staff will be reporting to new bosses and will be in new offices.
The new development services office will be located via the Second Street entrance and is the focus of the renovations this summer.
Palmer said the city didn’t know the cost of the exterior renovation partially because consultation with the heritage commission was needed.
“We don’t have cost estimates right now,” Palmer told the Times Review. He said the exterior renovation project amounted to “a fairly modest cost.”
Times Review readers will recall the exterior renovation plan concept began in 2010, when council planned to fix the stucco on city hall; some of it was falling off. They wanted to add an exterior insulation material.
That process is ongoing, and is a parallel, but essentially separate process to the interior renovations.
Back in 2010, a protest from the Canadian Art Deco Society halted the stucco replacement in its tracks. Society president Donald Luxton pleaded for thoughtful conservation of the “modernist gem.”
Council opted for a $23,000 study of the exterior materials, and a historical study of the building. That culminated in a report from Donald Luxton, who in the time since he protested the ill-advised stucco repair job went on to earn the contract to report on heritage values for the building.
He presented his 34-page final report to the City of Revelstoke’s heritage commission on June 24. The expansive report details the history of the building and its architect, C.B.K. Van Norman.
As for the exterior question, the report found the stucco is failing. The exterior insulation option would improve the insulation value, but isn’t deemed to be necessary, but an option. Luxton found this the least-desirable option because it would alter the building’s exterior from its original form. He concluded much of its heritage value lays in its exterior.
Another option is stripping it down to concrete and painting it, thus restoring its original form – the “restoration” option. The third option is to replace the stucco.
While council will have to wrestle with the exterior question again, the paint swatches have been sealed. Archive sleuthing and chemical microanalysis determined the original exterior was a flat finish Monterey White, while the window sash, windows and door trim were a high-gloss finish Strathcona Mahogany.
The report also provides extensive information: window types, interior descriptions, doors, conservation guidelines, historical anecdotes, staff surveys, original blueprints and historic photos, to name some.
City of Revelstoke heritage commission chairperson Mike Dragani said city staff ran the interior renovations past them, and they’re on board. Dragani said the interior renovations would complement the heritage exterior renovations plan. He said making the building an accessible public space is consistent with heritage objectives.
To summarize: A staff re-org is “gutting” some of the building’s interior and prompting exterior landscaping changes, the costs of which haven’t been determined or detailed. The changes prompted by the re-org have been extended to some exterior landscaping changes.
Meanwhile, in parallel, the City of Revelstoke is digesting a historic study on the building and will soon wrestle with which direction to move their conservation efforts now that they have the architect’s heritage report.
Want to learn more about the changes? Here are two reports. The Revelstoke City Hall Building Envelope Heritage Assessment is a must for local heritage and architecture enthusiasts, containing lots of historical information. Following that is the City of Revelstoke administration’s update on restructuring, which includes details and photos of the proposed renovations: