Park City readies $1 million-plus upgrade to iconic barn
The iconic view of the McPolin Farm acreage and the white barn along S.R. 224 will be temporarily interrupted through the rest of the summer and the fall.
City Hall, the owner of the property, by the middle of July plans to start a major upgrade to the barn meant to strengthen the historic structure, something that officials will say will ensure the barn remains standing for decades.
But the work will occur at perhaps Park City’s most notable historic structure and in a location that drivers pass at all hours. The work will be highly visible to drivers, hikers, bicyclists and others who are on the state highway or on the nearby trails.
“We are trying to preserve the building . . . so that we are protecting it,” said Matt Twombly, the City Hall staffer who is managing the project, indicating officials have planned upgrades like those that will be done for years.
The project involves a new steel frame, interior shear walls to support the existing walls, new footings and wooden roof trusses. The reinforcements are designed to protect the structure from the snow that stacks on top of the building, wind and earthquakes. The upgrades will also allow City Hall to bring up to 50 people at a time inside for tours. People are currently prohibited inside. The project, though, will not prepare the barn for general occupancy.
The work is expected to be substantially completed by Nov. 1. Twombly said some of the trailhead parking across S.R. 224 from the barn will be reserved for construction crews. Most of the construction staging will be on the grounds of the barn, though. A temporary construction fence will be posted around the barn, the silos, a shed and the plaza. Twombly said no trail closures are planned, but there could be temporary closures if they are required for safety.
In one of the notable tasks, the crews will remove portions of the roof one at a time in order to build the steel frame inside the barn. New shingles will be put onto the roof as it is put back in place. The existing shingles are not historic, Twombly said. He said it is likely a mobile crane will be at the site at certain points.
The Park City Council recently authorized a contract valued at nearly $1.2 million for the work. The contract went to Hogan & Associates Construction, Inc., a Centerville firm. The elected officials also waived $12,614 in building-permit fees that City Hall would otherwise collect, a standard practice on municipal projects.
A City Hall report submitted to the elected officials prior to the contract authorization indicated Hogan & Associates Construction, Inc. will on its own perform much of the work that a subcontractor would ordinarily be assigned. The report says that arrangement will help the schedule since subcontractors are already working on other projects.
“They had the most experience for both historic remodels . . . and barns,” Twombly said.
The project forced the cancellation of the Your Barn Door is Open festivities this year and the annual Scarecrow Festival, held in September, will depend on the progress by then.
City Hall acquired the barn and the surrounding land in the early 1990s as one of the municipal government’s most prominent conservation purchases. It had historically operated as a dairy farm. In the years since, officials have undertaken projects also meant to preserve the barn, such as installing a cabling system inside to hold the structure together, but the upcoming work is the most significant since the acquisition.
There has long been discussion about the amount of activities or events that should be allowed at the McPolin Farm, which is a popular backdrop for photographs and the subject of numerous artworks. A group known as the Friends of the Farm is involved in many decisions regarding the site.
George Hull, a member of the Friends of the Farm, agrees the structural upgrades are needed to preserve the barn and said he recalls talks about the barn years ago when he was a member of a City Hall panel that addressed parks and recreation topics. Hull said, perhaps, the inside of the barn someday could illustrate the workings of a dairy farm.
“We see it in photographs. We see it on calendars. We see it everywhere,” Hull said.
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