(By Mitch Kahn with additional photos by Cat Cooper)
It’s full speed ahead on the 2013 Gallery Renovation Project and replacement of the club’s aging heating plant. To protect parts of the club that are not included but are in the path of tools and materials going in and out, a plywood tunnel has been built from the front entrance through the main foyer and hallway to the upper gallery. Even the front stoop has been sheathed in plywood. Old windows and other details hidden during an earlier gallery renovation to maximize exhibition space are temporarily exposed.
Thanks to an additional grant from the Manton Foundation, our ancient and costly to operate and maintain oil fired high pressure steam furnace and hot water boiler will finally be replaced with a state-of-the-art gas fired low pressure recirculating hot water system headquartered in a newly constructed boiler room beneath the lower gallery. Work includes new plumbing and radiators throughout the 1854 house. The old furnace and oil tank will be removed, yielding a new storage room adjacent to the kitchen. This major capital improvement and switch to natural gas will result in significant annual savings on fuel, maintenance and repairs while the replacement of plumbing will dramatically lower the risk of leaks, which have become an all too common occurrence in recent years.
Climate in the upper and lower galleries (the 1917 extension) will be handled by a completely separate gas and electric forced air system with it’s mechanicals mounted on the roof. Ductwork in the upper gallery will be fully concealed while the lower gallery and bar will be serviced by a single duct running along one edge of the ceiling. This will free up a considerable amount of floor space formerly occupied by large radiators and eliminate the loud, inefficient and unsightly casement air conditioners currently mounted in windows and walls on both levels (see photos).
It is hoped that the successful and timely completion of these initial improvements will lead to funding for additional items on our wish list, of which the most elusive (and expensive) is, of course, an elevator.
Many more photos and details to be added in the coming weeks and months.