Architect Lynn Smith was hired to look at the condition and possible reuse of the historic Springside House.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Renovations to Springside House comes with a $2.2 million bill.
A feasibility study performed by CME Architects has developed an estimate to restore the historic building in Springside Park to accommodate an array of uses.
The total, hitting $2.2 million, is looked to be spread out over a long period of time and come from various funding sources, according to the city's Director of Parks and Open Spaces Jim McGrath.
"We will really try to get this project done. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be," McGrath said, adding that it is eyed to be 10 to 15 years before all of the renovations are completed. "The sooner we get into this project, the better. This is the golden opportunity to put some love back into the Springside House."
First, the city will be prioritizing needs to keep the building from further deteriorating. McGrath specifically said the foundation needs work. Architect Lynn Smith estimated that to cost $170,000.
Smith estimated that just short of $1 million would be needed to bring the building up to some usable conditions and another $1.3 to make it "habitable." The big-ticket items include $645,000 for exterior repairs; adding an elevator at a cost of $200,000 to make the entire building accessible for the public; $315,000 for the mechanical systems; $200,000 for interior renovations and $120,000 for the porches and entrances.
"I know that seems pricey but I think it is a great investment in the Springside House's future," Smith said.
In March, the city held a public meeting to gain ideas for the reuse of the building. That meeting produced a large list of possibilities. Smith reviewed those notes and determined that the building could house nearly all of them at once.
She created two floor plans that divided the rooms into various spaces — from offices to meetings to apartments to event areas and a visitor's center.
"It was an overwhelming support for an environmental center," Smith said. "Fortunately, it is a very accommodating building."
Jim McGrath says the project is eyed for 10 to 15 years out.
Nearly half of the respondents (45 percent) voiced support of a visitor's center, which included environmental education and park and city history. Another 28 percent wanted meeting and event spaces; 13 percent, museum spaces; 10 percent, nonprofit and municipal offices, and 4 percent, a housing component.
Smith said all of those options can be addressed at once in the building. And, the possible floor plans show that they can all happen without taking out floors, walls or ceilings. McGrath added that there needs to be an income-generating component involved to help generate funds for the house and the park.
"We have, very intentionally, have sought to respect the original architecture of the house," McGrath said.
The Parks and Open Space Department is currently launching a master plan for the entire Springside Park, which is expected to dovetail into the Springside House's plans, McGrath said.
"I would hope that the master plan or any improvements to the park can happen in tandem with the development of the Springside House," he said.
As for restoration of the home, McGrath said a variety of funds could be sought and that the city is open to considering "creative" partnerships to make it happen.
"We're in this for a long haul. This is not a two-year project. This is in the 10 to 15 year project. But we need to start now," he said.
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