FAIRMONT – The history of an ancient building must be cherished and its preservation kept in the foreground. But tracking maintenance to secure its future must also be taken into account.
Sonja Fortune, Executive Director of the Red Rock Center for the Arts at Fairmont, knows this well.
“It has been our agenda for several years to replace the upper level floor. It has reached its end of life stage and can no longer be sanded and refinished ”, said fortune.
Fortune said the ground is soft in some places and it is cracking as well. She said the 123-year-old flooring, made from natural pine and installed in 1898, has been re-sanded six times.
“We contacted several different companies. We considered replacing it with real solid wood and also with wool parquet ”, said fortune.
Eventually, it was decided to replace it with natural, solid red oak parquet, which will look like what they currently have.
As Red Rock is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the exterior structure of the building cannot be changed, but improvements can be made to the interior. Fortune said luckily the building’s structure was sound, but the flooring needed to be fixed.
“It was important for us to preserve the integrity of historical significance, but also to ensure a future for our organization“, she said.
Fortune said they plan to keep some of the original flooring and will make pieces of it to display in the Red Rock.
“The good thing is that we started looking for deals before Covid and we signed a contract before Covid. It was a very lucky thing for us because the price of wood went up a lot, so we saved a lot of money ”, she said.
During the weekend, volunteers tore up the old parquet. Fortune said they were originally worried about finding enough volunteers for the project.
“The Red Rock was restored by a large group of volunteers in 1998. Most of them are older now and can no longer do this job, but we are fortunate to have a group of younger volunteers to pull up. ground. “ she said.
She especially thanked board member Michael Kutch for coordinating the project.
Fortune said the next Hertzke Construction will come and check and make sure it’s structurally sound under the flooring. Then a company will come to install the new floor in October.
The cost of the project is just under $ 40,000. Fortune said the money came from a building improvement fund, a large part of which comes from the dividend interest of the endowment fund.
“We also accept donations and appreciate the generosity of the community to help keep the building in good condition”, said fortune.
Because the Red Rock is a non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible.
Fortune said it received $ 1,000 from the Martin County Area Foundation to advance the project.
Unfortunately, the Red Rock will have to close for about a month while the floors are replaced. However, Fortune said she thought it was worth it because of the money they saved.
After the flooring project is complete, Fortune announced plans to reopen on November 1.
“During Covid, we actually turned our lower level space into an art room. We are going strong enough with artistic education ”, said fortune.
She said they will be doing arts education throughout the month of October and that the office will be open to limited hours over the next few weeks.