Constructed in 1847 as the Francestown Academy, a private boarding school, the town assumed ownership of the building in 1945.
The building’s first floor auditorium is currently used for public meetings while the open second floor has been deemed structurally unsound for public access.
We worked with the Town of Francestown to formulate a preservation, renovation and expansion plan for the building.
The first phase was to complete an architectural and structural inspection of the building to better understand its architectural evolution and current structural condition. Our inspection uncovered some serious roof structure failures which the town has addressed by restoring the king and queen trusses supporting the tower. The assessment and documents provided the baseline information for the town to use in incorporating upgrades and maintenance projects for the building into the town’s capital improvement plan.
We were also awarded the second phase for schematic design to investigate options for addressing further upgrades – accessibility, egress, structural integrity, restrooms and mechanical systems.
The accepted design solution, which received funding, allowed us to reconstruct the structure of the second floor to support public assembly loading, and reorganize the interior spaces to meet the project program while minimally altering the original character of the building.
We worked with James L. Garvin, architectural historian, for input and historic accuracy for this project.