At the outset of the project, Portland High School put out a request for proposals to complete a project originally described as nothing more than spot-pointing, washing a few areas of the large structure, and repair of a few concrete areas. As the second oldest public high school still operating in the United States, and the third public high school to be established in the U.S., Hascall & Hall was lucky enough to be the low bidder on this historic project.
The first step in preparing for the project was to erect a full scaffolding system at the front entry to the building. Whenever scaffolding is involved in a project, safety for our crew and the client is always paramount. It soon became evident that the upper portions of the school building were in such a state of disrepair that there was no way to safely fasten the staging supports, and it certainly would not survive another Maine winter. Hascall & Hall ended up working hand-in-hand with both the school department and the architect to come up with a long-term, cost-effective fix that would require the area to be restaged in the future.
The façade had pre-cast, concrete panels and ornate decorative relief elements (grapes and vines and finials, etc) that had deteriorated to an unsightly state. After the thorough site evaluation and preliminary work with the client and architects, we determined that not only were all the elaborate finials and decorative stone work deteriorating, but the posterior aspect of the parapet was as well, to the point where if not addressed and repaired the ongoing safety of occupants in the building would be in question.
The original project took a structural turn that required significant additional aesthetic considerations, and Hascall & Hall put together a project plan to address all of the pertinent issues in as timely a manner as possible. The historical and decorative aspects of the building presented some initial challenges to maintain the original façade’s character. There were a few pieces of architectural stonework that were still intact and in fair enough condition for rubber moldings to be cast. After replicating the original stonework using our manmade moldings, we were then able to pour new stones to duplicate the others. They were then refastened to the solid substrate using stainless steel pins along with epoxy.
There were various decorative areas that had so badly deteriorated that we were unable to cast rubber molds, requiring Hascall & Hall to hand carve the figurines, dental work, and water tables to match the existing as closely as possible. Once all the stones were rebuilt, we applied two coats of a high-grade elastomeric coating to the surface to protect it from water intrusion.
The back of the parapet was stripped of the metal cladding and the masonry was repaired. A new vented wall system was also installed over sleepers to allow the wall to breathe, thereby arresting any further decay. Once all this was accomplished, the entryway was spot-pointed from the ground to the roof line, washed, and a clear waterproofing applied to protect the facility and its occupants.
All of the work was completed to exacting historical standards, rendering the school’s face once again both sound and beautiful.