Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Year of the Barns

This summer was a successful one at the Kellogg Conservation Center - AMC continues to base their southern New England operation out of the facility and hosted 16 weeks of teen trail crew and ridgerunners.  This is crucial work to managing and maintaining the AT in MA and CT and we are grateful for this partnership.  As the growing season kicked off and the AMC programs lept into full swing, we put more focus on maintaining the grounds, mowing, trimming, brush hogging, driveway maintenance, etc. thinking that it made more sense to postpone some other more involved projects until the quieter fall.  As such, we have not posted anything here in about three and a half months, so it is about time to update everyone on some of the work that has been going on here at the Kellogg Center.

As mentioned in an earlier post on this blog, this past winter ATC undertook to replace the siding and doors on the smaller "sheep" barn.  This project has meandered along and been mostly quiet this summer, but is 98% complete.  Lumber ran short in early summer and I decided that the project could sit until later in the fall when the last 3 doors would be built and installed in time for winter.

The next barn project, which has really been going on for a year and a half now if you count the pre-planning and fundraising stages, was to renovate the roof of the main barn.  This was a large project that required a roofing contractor, engineer, building permits, etc.  The impetus for this project was that the existing roof (asphalt) was failing and ATC was concerned that the irreplaceable chestnut timber-frame structure would be damaged.  I frequently observed shingles blow off of the barn in high winds, particularly in winter.  The structure gets full sun and wind exposure and takes a bit more of a beating from the elements being the tallest building on the property.  ATC has spent the last two years convening a group of staff, board members, and volunteers each quarter to discuss the future of the property and how to make it sustainable.  Out of that conversation we have identified the need to renovate the barn, in multiple phases, to serve as a more "public" space: a spot for events, meetings, and education.  The first phase we settled on is to insulate and replace the existing roof so that we would be able to eventually convert the structure to 4-season use.  This is a multi-year project that will require a significant capital investment by ATC.  

Interestingly, when Henderson Roofing began stripping shingles off they found that there were 6 layers: 1 layer of cedar shingle, 5 layers of asphalt.  That is 28,000 lbs on the roof!!  So the structure is undoubtedly breathing easier now.  ATC is in the process of applying to Historic New England to hold the Historic Preservation Restriction on all of the buildings here, so we asked them to render an opinion on which material was most suitable for the replacement given the age and history of the structure.  The choices were standing-seam metal, cedar, or asphalt shingles.  Standing-seam was our first choice for its longevity while asphalt was our last for the same reason.  We never really considered cedar until it was discovered to be the original covering.  As a result we decided that restoring the roof to its original covering made the most sense. Henderson Roofing replaced the degraded wood gutters with copper and also insulated the roof with 3 inch foam board.  The whole job start to finish took about 6 weeks.