April 27, 2012

Summer Brewery renovation, repair waits for State Historical inspection
Local contractors RLB Builders, South Park Electric under contract

Laura Van Dusen, Correspondent

Summer Brewery

The Summer Brewery building at South Park City, the restored 1880s town in Fairplay, will soon be restored and repaired.The area with the more pronounced mortar work, to the right of the double doors, is a sample of the work that will be done to all of the building exterior. The board of trustees is waiting for inspection and approval of the sample work by the State Historical Fund before full exterior renovation can begin. The double doors will be renovated into a handicapped-accessible entrance. (Photo by Laura Van Dusen/The Flume)

The South Park Historical Foundation Inc. and its board of trustees for the restored 1880s town, South Park City in Fairplay, had plans for completion of Phase I repairs and renovations to the Summer Brewery by November 2011 (see Dec. 10, 2010 Flume). But with the number of steps in the grant approval and construction process, the wheels of progress have been turning slowly.

But they’re turning.

The board of trustees has retained Neil Katz as project engineer and architect. The Colorado Springs-based architect has worked on South Park City projects for several years. The board has also contracted with Fairplay-based RLB Builders Inc. for the exterior Phase I work and South Park Electric in Hartsel for updates to the interior electrical system.

RLB will begin work soon after a State Historical Fund representative inspects architectural plans and proposed renovations; work should be finished within three months of the start date.The inspection is scheduled for May 18.

Work will begin almost immediately after plans are approved. “We have such a short (construction) season,” said Jim Sapp, first vice president of the South Park Historical Foundation board of trustees.

Phase I repairs

During Phase I, cracked mortar will be repaired. Some mortar from repairs made years ago will be replaced because it is not the material used during original construction. Because funds are coming from the State Historical Fund, repairs have to be historically accurate. Therefore, the mortar used has to be the same material used in the 1800s, when the brewery was new.

Weak structural materials in the roof will be replaced, and the foundation will be repaired after the drainage is changed to route rain and snow away from the building.

Windows will be scraped, painted and restored, and they will be re-mortared to fit snugly into the walls.

Inside the Summer Brewery building, South Park Electric has finished electrical work. It replaced the old overhead lights and display lighting with energy-efficient units. After the change in lighting, displays no longer have a glare on the exhibit glass, said Harley Hamilton, president of the board of trustees.

New entrance/exit

The frame entrance and exit structure will be torn out, and a new entrance and exit will be built. That structure will also be a display area for personalized bricks and bottles sold by the museum to raise money for this project. The bricks and bottles will continue to be sold throughout renovations for Phase II of the brewery improvements.

Hamilton said that a new handicapped-accessible entrance will be included in Phase I repairs, through the double doors in the side of the building. He said handicapped persons still “can’t go to the second floor,” but with the new entrance, about 80 percent of South Park City will be handicapped-accessible, including the first floor of the brewery.

Open during construction

South Park City and the Summer Brewery will stay open during construction.

“We might have to close portions” while construction is ongoing, said Hamilton, but “not totally.”

“We are making every effort to keep the construction from interfering with (visitors) to the museum,” said Sapp in an email.

Phase II

Phase II will focus on interior repairs to the brewery building. The interior was originally scheduled for completion in 2012, but the board is now estimating it will be 2013 before that part of the project is finished.

Bricks and bottles

An ongoing bricks and bottles fundraising campaign is under way to help finance renovations to the brewery building.

The bricks portion of the fund-raising campaign gives contributors the opportunity to have one’s name or message, up to three lines of 20 spaces each, engraved on a brick paver, which will be permanently installed in the floor of the new entrance/exit structure.

In the bottles part of the campaign, one can purchase the right to have the contributor’s name included on an authentic reproduction of the label from South Park Lager beer – the beer that was produced at Summer Brewery. The label will be attached to an antique beer bottle and displayed on a shelf to decorate the new entrance/exit.

For more information, or to contribute to the cause, visit www.southparkcity.org and click on “Help Restore the Summer Brewery” on the home page.