The first of three phases to restore and renovate historic Province House, site of the first meeting of the Fathers of Confederation is moving right along.
Quinan Construction Ltd., the lead contractor, has been busy working on the exterior of the 170-year-old building for the past seven months, conducting site stabilization, excavating around the building to allow access to the foundation, and removing slate roof tiles.
"We're about finishing some of the Phase 1 work here now on the interior of the building and getting some exoskeleton put up around the outside, really readying the building for the next phase of the work," said Greg Shaw, project manager for Parks Canada.
Phase 1 has also included peeling back layers on the the inside of the building, removing some elements from inside the building such as basement flooring, mechanical and electrical systems, windows, and plaster work.
Decades of water damage have taken a toll on the three storey structure.
"Overall, the walls are in generally in not bad condition, and that's part of one of the benefits of doing this Phase 1 work," Shaw explained. "It's allowed us to open up a bit more of the walls themselves."
The historic features inside Province House such as columns, pilasters, ceiling medallions, arches, wood sashed windows and central staircase have been carefully preserved throughout the stabilization phase.
Shaw said some of the heritage elements of the building that can be protected in place have been wrapped in bubble wrap and then encased in plywood.
Other items have been diligently wrapped, tagged and put in storage in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse.
"There's baseboards, there's trim around a lot of the doors, all of the windows have all been removed, catalogued, taken to the storage facility," Shaw said.
"They've taken some of the medallions down, as well as the large arch behind the chair. Very slow, meticulous work, but I can say it's come out without a hitch and nothing broken."
The $28.4 million contract for construction management services for Phase 2 of the project was awarded in October to PCL Constructors Ltd.
Work is scheduled to begin in early spring.
"We have the foundation, we have the walls and the roof are the three major pieces that we'll be looking at, and it's the consolidation of the walls to make sure that they're tight, similar with the foundation, and to make sure the roof is tight," Shaw said.
"People may say there doesn't seem to be a whole lot done, there's a lot that has been done and this is getting it ready for that second phase," he added.
It will still be some time before people are able to visit Province House. It's not scheduled to re-open to the public until 2020 or 2021.
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