In the tradition of New Englanders, Hascall & Hall highly values the client relationships we have established and cultivated over the years. Close relationships sustained over the long-term afford us the great satisfaction of collaborating with our customers on multiple projects across time. After working closely with the contractor and the owners of the Congress Square project, we were brought in to consult on another facility owned by the same group—one that would prove an enduring, challenging and highly rewarding project for all parties involved.
The project was the dilapidated Olde Woolen Mill located along the Saco River in North Berwick, Maine, which had been vacant and had severely deteriorated over the years. The goal of the renovation was to repurpose the old textile mill as affordable housing units. Built in 1832 and left vacant for over 40 years, the structure had been subjected not only to the external elements associated with the New England climate, but also significant vandalism. Without proper maintenance the building had suffered severe damage, leading the developers to tear down multiple structures and concentrate on the ones that were most salvageable.
As with many projects of this magnitude, our partnership with the owners and the general contractor began nearly two years prior to the bidding process. It was essential that the team establish budgetary numbers to determine whether the renovation would be feasible before the owners actually undertook the aggressive project.
Hascall & Hall was called in to assist in the external renovation of the structures. Our efforts were not only to add aesthetic value to the renovation, but to address and halt continued moisture penetration and the further decline that would be inevitable without proper repair and coating. Because the work on the project commenced in midwinter, Hascall and Hall had to contend with the frigid temperatures as well as maintain a tight schedule.
The project required the creation of new masonry openings on the interior, shoring up the brick walls that were falling into ruin, and rebuilding fallen arches and window openings. The completion of this work allowed the general contractor to establish an interior fit for remodeling for low-income housing while maintaining the superb look and feel of the old structure.
The exterior brick masonry job consisted of reestablishing fallen-down walls on portions of the building, rebuilding corners of the building that had collapsed, removing miscellaneous bricks, and spot-pointing not only the entire structure but the tall stand-alone chimney at the back as well. The difficulty of restoring these elements to their original integrity was compounded by the fact that the site and roof contractors were working all around us throughout the project, requiring the implementation of perfect scheduling to prevent any down time.
An additional challenge impacting the daily operations of this renovation was the proximity of the entire length of the western side of the building to the river. As with many historic renovation projects, Hascall & Hall had to remain acutely aware of any environmental concerns, ensuring 100% compliance with all pertinent regulatory requirements.
The entire project was proudly completed under the allotted time frame, allowing the general contractor to turn the building over to the owner ahead of schedule. Participation in this renovation project was especially rewarding to all of us. As a result of the outstanding quality of the renovation and its positive impact on the community, the Old Woolen Mill was ultimately presented with the 2010 Maine Statewide Historic Preservation Award.