OLYMPIA -- A project that is currently underway will result in significant upgrades to an historic building at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. Heritage Hall was built at the fair site along Carpenter Road around 1940 and currently houses the offices of the Thurston County Fair and provides a large space used for the fair and for community meetings and other events. However, the hall will be "out of action" for the next several months due to the renovation.
Fair manager Rick Storvick says the idea is to bring the hall up to current codes as well as repair some weathered parts of the building. "We have been setting the stage for this project for a number of years. We are replacing some rotting parts of the log building as well as upgrading some of the internal structures of the facility. Once it's done, Heritage Hall will not only be a stronger building, but it will be up to current seismic and electrical standards and will have a fire alarm system in place."
Storvick says another part of the renovation is protecting the building from some "critter damage". "Over the years, bats and starlings have been a real problem in the attic of Heritage Hall. In fact it took about a week and a half to clear out the 'presents' left behind in the attic so we could get down to the actual construction work." When the project is finished, the attic should be critter proof and the gables on the building will also be reinforced.
Christenson Incorporated of Thurston County is managing the $600,000 project. They were chosen, in part, because of their ability to work on the log building. Storvick says that was an important consideration for the work. "We knew we wanted to upgrade the facility considerably and ensure its viability into the future. At the same time we wanted to be considerate of the historic nature of Heritage Hall and to work to preserve its character. That's what makes working with the logs and cedar shingles so important.
The project is expected to be finished by May, and Storvick says there is already a wedding booked for Heritage Hall just after that.