BERLIN – The Worthington Meeting House will return to its original appearance under new restoration plans recently discussed with the Town Council.
The estimated cost of the renovation is $2.2 million.
“It’s great to see it’s going back to what it originally was,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski.
Built in 1774, the town-owned meeting house has been a landmark on Worthington Ridge serving as a meeting place, library and a school until the building closed to the public in the 1970s.
The Berlin Historical Society and Friends of the Worthington Meeting House (FOWMH) group have been working with a grant-funded architect, QA&M Architecture in Farmington, on plans to restore the historic building to its original design. Both groups are also looking at grants and fundraising to cover constructions costs.
“Certain changes evolved in the design,” said Kent McCoy, an architect on the project.
The council approved $13,900 in additional funding to complete the design development during a meeting Tuesday night. The project was initially awarded for $20,000 to Smith Edwards McCoy which has since merged with QA&M Architecture.
The historical society and FOWMH looked at two different schemes, one of which would remove a portion of the second floor of the house. Scheme A, which keeps the second floor intact, was determined the best option in collaboration with the State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service.
“We can keep the main level and balcony level as open as possible,” McCoy said.
The new design will be ADA compliant, including an elevator, and allow visitors access to the entire building. The first floor will hold seating for 100 people. The concept is to eventually house the historical society in the building, while also using the space to hold community meetings.
“I think it’s going to be an incredible space,” said Lorraine Stub, of FOWMH and the historical society.
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