BATAVIA – Workers are replacing all 96 windows on the Batavia City Hall building in a $1.1 million project to renovate the historic structure.
Originally scheduled to be a two-year project, the work is now expected to be completed by the end of this year, city staff members Kevin Maloney and John Dillon said.
General contractor Schramm Construction Corp. of St. Charles started the work last month on the east face of the building along the Fox River. The project includes tuckpointing the building’s masonry, replacement of about half the exterior limestone window sills, and new shades for all of the windows.
Maloney is the building maintenance supervisor for the city. Dillon is a retired Batavia water and sewer division superintendent, hired part time specifically to help oversee City Hall renovations.
The two men said the work has been proceeding smoothly and that the biggest challenge will come with the August sun beating on the limestone. Above each window is an arch made of bricks, and all of these are being tuckpointed, too.
The window openings between the limestone slabs are large, most being 5-feet wide by 7-feet tall.
BCB Carpentry of Batavia, a subcontractor for the project, is installing the framing. First a rough frame is attached to the stone before the actual window frame – with double-paned, energy-efficient Andersen-brand glass – is installed. That’s followed by the final wood trim, all atop a new interior sill made of a composite material.
About 25 percent of the window surface, at the bottom, is composed of an operable, awning-style hand-cranked window. Above, the glass features a simple, decorative grid created by aluminum strips sandwiched between the panes.
A close inspection of the old windows, last replaced 35 years ago, reveals considerable deterioration with large amounts of caulking applied later as a patch.
“The windows are past their useful life,” said Batavia architect Lane Allen, who designed the windows project and the next phase of the work, a major renovation of the building’s interior.
Allen, of Allen+Pepa Architects in Geneva, has worked on many historic buildings in Batavia, but said this project is one of the most significant.
The three-story building, constructed in 1901 from locally quarried limestone, was originally home to the Appleton Manufacturing Co., one of Batavia’s legendary windmill makers.
“It’s an adaptive reuse of a historic building,” Allen said.
Located at 100 N. Island Ave., the building is officially known as the Batavia Government Center, and houses city offices, including the police department.
The city initially had intended to parcel out the work until the end of 2019 in a budgeting maneuver, but instead issued bonds to cover the work.
Batavia Finance Director Peggy Colby said the bonds will be repaid over 20 years from general fund revenues.
Because of Mayor Jeff Schielke’s concern about the city budget, the interior renovation project has been delayed, and probably will not get underway until next year at the earliest.
Key to the interior plan is the creation of a large public reception area on the ground floor, providing direct access to the utility billing department, which would move from its current office on the second floor.
The plan also includes revamped office spaces and conference rooms on the first and second floors, as well as new restrooms and staircases.
Work on the first phase of that project is estimated at $450,000.