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On the Boards | Preserving the Past for the Future

Historic Pres Collage Edit


Bailey Edward is fortunate to have projects diverse enough to touch many different market sectors ranging from laboratories, higher education, government buildings, residential and faith environments. One common thread between many of these: historic preservation.

When it comes to preservation, Bailey Edward is leading the preservation practice with in-depth research, innovative solutions, advanced technology, and extensive testing. As of 2018, BE has worked successfully on 38 National Register Eligible historic structures and 33 listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Currently, our staff is active across the Midwest, taking care of historic structures that positively impact their community and preserving them for future use. Take a look at some of the projects BE is working hard to preserve:

In Springfield, Karla Smalley and Robin Whitehurst are diligently assessing and designing solutions to repair the Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum so it may reopen to the public in time for the 2019 State Fair. Built in 1901, the Coliseum is a significant contributor on the National Register of Historic District fairgrounds, hosting equestrian events and concerts since its opening. However, the building was closed, due to a deteriorated wood roof structure. Karla and her team have identified original design errors in the structural components of the roof and designed a new roof system, with preliminary approval by the State Historic Preservation Office.

At the University of Chicago, Zach Clark and Robin are carefully studying historic properties on the Laboratory School Campus. Lillie House is a 1902 Arts and Craft-style National Historic Landmark. Originally the home of Frank and Frances Crane Lillie, both benefactors of the University in their time, Lillie House is currently used as office space. Breckinridge House, designed by Schmidt, Garden and Martin in 1916 hosted the Elenor Club, a residence for single and professional women. Acquired in 1967 by the University, Breckinridge House most recently served as student housing. The studies help the Laboratory School fully understand the potential for each of the historic buildings to benefit the school and the Hyde Park community.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Robin and Stephanie Rydecki are studying the façade of the E. Ross Adair Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the façade and monumental stairs are in need of maintenance and repair. Robin and Stephanie are identifying areas on the façade that suffered from weathering, deferred maintenance and materials reaching the end of their useful life. An investigative study will lead to a long-term repair design solution to maintain the façade, steps and accessible entry.

All across Chicago, you can find BE staff (Zach, Robin, James Auler, Omar Bailey and Michael Petti) hard at work on seven different Chicago Park District community facility projects managed by the Public Building Commission. Columbus Park and Austin Town Hall are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park buildings require rehabilitation to best serve their communities. Through comprehensive analyses of existing conditions, BE’s team is regularly on site designing solutions for accessibility, repairing of roofs and exterior envelopes, and restoring the facilities to their former glory.

In Gary, Indiana, Robin and Zach are designing a ruins garden for the former United Methodist Church, a 1925 Gothic Revival limestone and clay masonry building. Abandoned for over 40 years, the church ruins require structural stabilization and repairs. Utilizing laser-scanning technology and 3-D conceptual drawings, Robin and Zach designed a preservation strategy that creates an artful, engaging and lush greenspace that revitalizes the surrounding neighborhood.

Not only is BE in the field working on projects, we’re out at events and conferences speaking with other professionals about the importance of preservation and best practices. This summer, Robin interviewed with Traditional Building on his work with the Madison County Historical Society (MCHS). Robin and Karla worked closely with the MCHS to develop a master plan of the 1836 Federal-style house museum and helped the MCHS discover their goals of interpreting early life in Madison County through thoughtful exhibitions while balancing the constraints of doing so within an artifact itself. Read the whole article here.

In late September, Robin, Karla and Stephanie will travel to Buffalo New York for the Association for Preservation Technology International Conference to hear presentations from other leaders in the industry and connect with other preservationists.

We believe that preservation is about so much more than maintaining a facility. These buildings become embedded in the community and to preserve the building is to honor all who have used the facility while adapting to the modern needs of those who use it now.