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Governor's Mansion to undergo renovations, repairs

Governor's Mansion to undergo renovations, repairs

April 28th, 2019 by Bob Watson in News

Sherry Kempf, of Facilities Management, describes the work to be done at the Governor's Mansion, which includes replacing the wooden columns with fiberglass ones and replacing the windows on the enclosed porch.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

After living there a year, Gov. Mike Parson and first lady Teresa Parson will be leaving the Mansion for about five months this summer and fall so a number of repairs and replacements can be made in the 148-year-old building.

Office of Administration spokeswoman Brittany Ruess said, "The major part of this project is replacing the mansion's HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems."

The equipment has been installed in piece-meal fashion over the years, she explained, "with installations in 1965, 1975, 1985, sometime in the 1990s, and 2008. The HVAC systems are not integrated together.

"Because of this, the Mansion has issues with humidification and dehumidification."

During a half-hour tour of the Mansion last week, Sherry Kempf, OA's Historic Cultural Resource Program Manager for the Capitol Complex, noted parts of the system can't be repaired and are causing water damage in the Mansion's interior.

For example, the HVAC system works by pumping water through fan-coils that are installed under the large windows.

"If they're producing cold air in the summer," Kempf explained, "then that produces condensate, and they have return lines that should collect the condensate and should send it down to a drain.

"Well, those pipes have clogged to the point we can't fix them — probably because they're rusty."

She pointed to peeling paint on the ceiling over one of the large, north-side windows in the double parlor that overlooks the Mansion grounds and the Missouri River.

That paint is peeling, Kempf said, because of problems with the fan-coil unit in the second-floor bedroom directly above it.

It's a problem that developed within the last couple of years, she said.

Although harder to see with the eye or a camera, several in-the-wall vents also have allowed water to condense on wallpaper in rooms on the second floor — a situation that also will be resolved with the HVAC replacements.

Unlike many modern homes and commercial buildings, there's no "zoning" that allows different heating or cooling settings for different parts of the three-story home, originally built in 1871.

This year's HVAC replacement also will provide the ability to control temperatures better in various parts of the 148-year-old mansion.

The furniture and the offices in the basement also will be removed for the period that will start in early June and last through the end of October.

OA officials told the News Tribune the Parsons will be staying in "an officer's housing unit at the Missouri National Guard," at the Ike Skelton Training Center in eastern Jefferson City.

The renovation work also means the Mansion will be closed to the public.

"Fortunately, the mansion receives fewer visits over the summer, making it a more appropriate time to make repairs," Ruess said.

Eleven years ago, then-Gov. Matt Blunt signed a supplemental appropriations bill that included $3 million to repair the mansard slate roof, and to restore and repaint all the windows, trim, shutters, columns and cornices; repair and tuck point the exterior masonry; and replace the sun porch "storefront framing and windows."

"We've been talking about this HVAC project for many years, since we did that renovation" in 2008, Kempf said last week.

Sircal Contracting Inc., of Jefferson City, won the $3,297,000 contract for this year's work.

In addition to the HVAC systems replacement, the work will include:

Electrical service upgrades, including the fire alarm system.

Kempf said the fire alarm upgrade includes "addressable fire alarm panels so they will have more detection in the ceilings and, if we have an alarm, they'll be able to say, 'It's in the double-parlor,' or 'It's on the third floor.'"

Right now, she said, an alarm can't pinpoint the location of the problem.

Security systems repairs.

Some limited asbestos abatement.

Lightning protection repair.

Fountain electrical and lighting upgrades and coating.

Exterior paving repairs.

Sunporch glazing replacement and structural columns.

Replacement of sanitary sewer lines.

Some landscaping.

Window repairs.

Plumbing work.

"We will be making openings (in the walls) in certain places, in every room," Kempf explained. "We're going to try to minimize those openings."

In some places, she added, "The floors will have to come up, because there is piping that will have to go into the floors."

Because of the renovation work, the contract also will involve interior masonry repairs, new ceilings, lighting, carpentry, insulation, casework, flooring finishes, and repairs and restoration of historic finishes affected by the work.

"The goal is to put it back like it never happened," Kempf said.

Major repairs are also slated for the Sunporch, on the building's west side, facing the governor's garden and the Capitol.

It was added in the late 60s, and covers the first two floors.

It began as an open porch, and later was screened in.

Eventually, it became a glassed-in porch and — even with the work that was done in 2008 — "all the seals in the windows are broken," Kempf noted. "It actually will rain in between the seals," and condensation sometimes builds up between the double-pane glass.

In addition, the wood columns between the windows have rotted out in some places, allowing parts of the floor to start pulling away from the main building.

"We'll be replacing the columns as well as all of the storefront windows system," Kempf said, noting people will be able to see that work, even as most of the inside work is done out of the public's view.

Freeburg-based Quaker Windows will manufacture the new windows.

The cast-iron capitals on the main floor columns will be kept and placed on the new, replacement columns being made with a structural fiberglass, that won't be affected by the weather conditions as the wood columns have been.

Kempf said the contractor will begin working soon to do preparation work, like making sure they have the correct measurements for clearances for the new equipment.

The renovation work itself will begin in mid-June, and are scheduled to be finished by the end of October.

The Mansion repairs are separate from the ongoing exterior stone project at the Capitol, although it's being paid from the same state facility bond funds.

Kempf said the Parsons have been "very cooperative" with the planning and scheduling of the work.

Commissioner of Administration Sarah Steelman told the News Tribune: "Gov. Parson and first lady Teresa Parson deeply care about the Governor's Mansion and its historic importance to the local community and our state.

"I thank them for their willingness to move out of the mansion during construction. The first family's support of the project means the Mansion will finally receive necessary repairs so it can be enjoyed by Missourians for many years to come."

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