Extensive work planned on iconic Park City barn
March 4, 2016
The iconic white barn along the Park City entryway, the anchor of what is perhaps City Hall’s most enduring conservation purchase, is one of the area’s scenic attractions.
Set amid the open space of the historic McPolin Farm, the barn has long been the subject of artists and camera-carrying visitors. But the inside of the barn paints a different picture. The barn is not fit for people to be inside. There are numerous cables installed to help keep the structure intact, and the interior appears like a shell with a random tractor or a cow sculpture of some bygone era inside.
City Hall, which has owned the McPolin Farm since 1990, is preparing to make extensive structural upgrades to the barn. The work will not be enough to make the barn a habitable building, but it will allow City Hall to lead people inside on tours. People are currently prohibited inside, as has been the case since the acquisition. Municipal staffers and people accompanying them are allowed in for maintenance, research and planning purposes, though.
Matt Twombly, who is a City Hall project manager heavily involved in the upcoming McPolin Farm work, said two silos outside the barn will also be upgraded structurally. The municipal government late in 2015 hired an architectural and engineering team and in February secured another firm for preconstruction services. Twombly said City Hall has set aside $800,000 for the work with the prospects of the project costing upward of $1 million once the details are finalized.
It will be the first major structural upgrade since the mid-1990s, when the cables were installed. A fire-sprinkler system was also put in at that time. The work is expected to start this spring and last four months.
The barn has suffered over the decades. Twombly said the architects and engineers City Hall hired for the project have recommended the installation of a steel frame inside as well as the installation of new footings, which secure a building to the ground. The footings will be attached to the new steel frame. Twombly said a minimal amount of wood framing will be added on the inside.
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"It doesn’t meet building codes. It’s an old barn," Twombly said, adding, "The big problem is the size of it and the snow and the wind."
The work will likely have a dramatic appearance. Twombly acknowledged the crews will be required to remove and then replace some of the siding of the barn to install the steel frame. The workers will also replace the shingles and the plywood on the roof, he said.
"They’re going to see some of the siding removed, some of the roof removed," he said about the anticipated appearance. "I think that will be the hardest thing."
Once the work is finished, the barn will appear much like it does today. Twombly, though, said windows will be added on each side of the barn to match the historic look of the building. On the inside, the cables will be removed afterward since they will no longer be necessary for support.
The barn is situated amid a swath of open space that City Hall acquired in the same purchase, a deal meant to set aside from development high-profile entryway acreage. Leaders at the time saw the farm as bucolic ground that separated Park City from the fast-growing Snyderville Basin. There have been other conservation purchases in the vicinity since.
The McPolin Farm in the intervening years has hosted small events and is the location of hiking and bicycling trails in the summer and a cross-country skiing track in the winter.
"We want it to stand for another 50 years, at least," Twombly said.