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Batavia to hold public open house at former First Baptist Church

BATAVIA – As aldermen ponder the future of the former First Baptist Church building, they have decided to let the public tour the building.

Aldermen at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting decided to hold an open house at 6:30 p.m. July 30.

At the same time, city officials continue to weigh what to do with the building.

“I don’t think we are in any financial position to dump a lot of money in this,” Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said at the meeting.

Seventh Ward Alderman Dave Brown said the public needs to see inside the building before any decision is made on what to do with it.

“I think an open house for the public is certainly necessary,” Brown said.

A Northbrook-based firm has estimated it will cost at least $3.1 million to repair the former First Baptist Church building at the corner of Washington and Wilson streets in downtown Batavia so the building can be reused.

The city has owned the facility since 2006, including the late 19th century original church, a north addition built in the 1930s and a classroom wing built around 1959. The Batavia City Council recently hired WJE to assess the building’s condition.

WJE has inspected the building, and the firm recommended repairs be made to the exterior and interior of the 1889 church, 1930s addition and 1959 classroom wing, as well as the building’s mechanical systems.

The firm recommended the city budget be between $3.1 million and $3.5 million for the work.

“Much of the recommended repair work is dependent upon the future adaptive reuse of the building and the intended function,” the firm stated in its report.

However, WJE listed an estimated $775,000 in repairs that need to be done to prevent additional damage to the building materials or features. The repairs include a new roof; gutter repairs and new downspouts at the 1889 church; a new roof; scuppers and downspouts at the 1959 addition; masonry lintel repairs at the 1930s addition; and lintel repairs at the 1959 addition.

Batavia-based Alpine Demolition Services has submitted an estimate of $146,250 to demolish the property.

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