Carnegie work beginning to reveal original features
Tribune staff photo
The Carnegie Building’s lowest level is now exposed, as seen May 21, as dirt is moved away from the foundation.
SNOHOMISH — Progress continues on the Carnegie Building’s restoration, as crews lately are moving the earth and preparing to install a new front stairway.
“We’re back in action,” city project manager Brennan Collins said.
COVID-19 delayed the job by about a month. Mid-October is now when the refreshed Carnegie could be all wrapped up for a ribboncutting. All things considered, Collins said “we feel like we didn’t lose too much ground.” Crews were temporarily sent home to avoid risking virus exposure.
The city’s goal is to restore the original 1910 building and make it available as a space for public and city events. At about 4,250 square feet, it is the largest publicly owned building in Snohomish.
Machinery has already munched the old concrete slab foundation of the former 1968 library annex, which got demolished in February.
In the coming weeks, the crew will uncover the beauty of the original building’s decorative tile “banding” on the building that hasn’t been seen in 50 years because it was painted over.
“It’s this beautiful terra cotta relief” painted in blues, reds, whites and other colors, city administrator Steve Schuller described. The antique decorative tiles are called Van Briggle tiles.
A soy-based product is being applied to disintegrate the paint on top without harming the tiles, Schuller said.
Plus, removing the paint will expose six unique crests adorned on the outside walls of the building.
“We’re all really curious to see” what the ornamental crests along the building look like, Collins said. “It’s going to look great when they’re exposed.”
Elsewhere on the site, the big trench at the back of the building is to put in a power line conduit to a transformer, Collins said.
The tall mound of dirt at the site will be put to use to backfill the trench and, later in the project, would be packed under a new, large stairway to reach the building’s main entrance. It will have an ADA lift connected to it.
Inside, there is already new flooring, new electrical, new fire safety systems and other equipment installed, Schuller said. “The basement will look totally different,” he said. The stage was removed and a new concrete floor was poured.
The restoration project is under contract for $1.7 million ($2.1 million if including contingencies).
The city secured $1 million in state grants toward the project, and in 2018 it identified $1.2 million in already-collected real estate excise taxes and $450,000 in utility revenues to fund the project.
The project is still within budget, Schuller said.
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