I read with interest this morning’s N&R story about how the voter-approved $3.1B higher education bond money is being spent to improve our local universities. This interests me because some of that $3.1B is making its way into my company’s coffers. For the uninitiated, my company is called Double Hung and our business is restoring original, historic windows.
On Tuesday, after nearly three months of negotiations, I signed a contract for the largest project we have ever undertaken: Leazer Hall on the campus of NCSU in Raleigh.
Built in 1911-12, Leazer served as the campus’ main dining hall for many decades and is now mainly office and studio space for NC State’s College of Design. This historic building is undergoing an $8.7M bond-financed renovation and is slated to be placed back into service this coming June, which is about how long we will be working in Raleigh. (Here’s some more pictures)
During my intitial meetings with the architects in October, they related how the university was dead-set on replacing all 154 windows in the structure – including 48 round, and half-round treasures shown above. So, after some intitial hesitance, I worked up pricing from four window vendors for comparable replacement sashes and they all came in over $500k – plus another $100k or so to fix the existing frames and install the new sashes.
Along with the requested pricing proposal for new sashes, I slipped in a rough estimate for what it would cost to restore all of the structure’s original windows. It was my aim to provide the university with some comparison pricing before they decided to send the old sashes to the landfill.
As a part of my restoration estimate, I related a strong opinion that Leazer’s historic, wavy-glass-laden fenestration would be good-to-go for another 100 years with just a little care from my company; this is due to the quality of the lumber utilized and craftsmanship rarely found in typical modern replacement windows. Compare this to the expected 25-year service life of windows constructed of farm-grown pine. The kicker? The complete restoration and weather stripping all of Leazer’s extraordinary original windows would cost North Carolina’s taxpayers less than half the price of installing comparable replacement windows.
To their immense credit, the powers-that-be at NCSU finally took me up on my restoration proposal. Chalk one up for preservation and the taxpayers.
I have rented a furnished apartment in Raleigh for me and my crew. The initial lease term is for three months, but the project could easily go to four. So if I seem a bit detached from local goings-on in the coming months, now you will know why. But its all good because Double Hung is off to ‘fix the winders’.