The Stamford Central School District has a strong history of providing high quality educational and extra-curricular programs and facilities for the students and community. The district is located in a small rural setting in upstate New York. The original building was designed by Harold O. Fullerton, constructed in 1936, and to this day still serves at the district’s main K-12 facility. It was a Works Progress Administration project and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The façade on the original building consists of brick and cast stone elements that are located at the entrances, window panels, parapet and water table. The cast stone was failing and many areas were showing signs of deterioration. In the Winter of 2018, large pieces of cast stone fell at the front portico, causing additional safety concerns that resulted in closing down the main entrance.
A detailed visual survey and exploratory probes of the original building façade were conducted prior to completing the design. This investigative work identified areas needing replacement. The cast stone deterioration was a global condition that existed at all decorative and structural elements. In addition to obvious large cracks, imperceptible micro-cracks existed. Replacement of the cast stone was necessary to address the safety concerns and prevent water from entering the facade causing further damage. To complicate this work, it was understood that the cast stone entry portico columns, capitals, frieze and parapet are unreinforced load bearing structural elements.
Shop drawings were developed based on a precise laser scan of every piece of cast stone masonry. The design team worked to create a custom font for the “STAMFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL” lettering prominently displayed across the top of the front portico, to match the original. Lighting and electrical pathways were carefully coordinated so that fixtures and cables are hidden from view. The color and texture of the cast stone was matched to the original building. As part of the approval process by the State Historic Preservation Office, mock-ups and photo documentation were submitted for approval. The cast stone units faithfully replicate the existing decorative rosettes, medallions, lettering, flutes, chevrons, pierced panels and all other features that are character defining elements of this national treasure.
The project was awarded to a masonry restoration contractor in November 2019 and was substantially complete prior to the start of the school year in September 2021. All original 1936 ornamental cast stone pieces at the front portico, north and south entrances, panels between the 1st and 2nd floor windows, parapet belt course and perimeter water table were replaced. A total of 525 new cast stone units were created and installed. The capital project improved the safety and overall appearance of the building not only for students but the community and school family as a whole. The district is very pleased with the results and praised the construction team for their cooperation and quality of work. The project demonstrates that all parties can be successful through a team approach, proper communication and collaboration.