MT. EVERETT ACADEMY

The 1830 Mount Everett Academy building is a well recognized architectural gem in the heart of South Egremont, Massachusetts. After serving as a private academy for twenty years, the building has demonstrated flexibility as it has been re-purposed many times over the following one hundred and sixty four years. Today the building continues to serve the public as a library and exhibition space.

CME Architecture, Inc. was contracted by the Town of Egremont to perform a conditions assessment and to develop a treatment plan for the Academy building in late 2013. The study was funded by the Town in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Commission through a Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund grant. The CME team consisted of a historical architect, structural engineer, mechanical and electrical engineers, and preservation consultants each of whom surveyed the property to assess existing conditions in a noninvasive manner. The team findings are presented in the body of this report as well as in the Appendix.

Generally, the building is in very good condition as it has been well maintained over the course of its history. There are improvements that should be addressed however, including repairs to the belfry roofing which has failed in places, allowing moisture into the structure and damaging some framing members. Additional structural work should be undertaken to reinforce the first floor framing. As the structural report confirms, the loads from the belfry framing are point loaded on the first floor beam which is supported by a stone pier at mid span instead of directly under the load bearing posts. The iron safe located under the stair should be removed from the building as it is imposing a tremendous load on the first floor beam that supports the belfry.

Other recommended improvements within the building include upgrades to the fire alarm system, additional emergency lighting, installation of energy efficient lighting fixtures, replacement of plumbing fixtures and improvements to the mechanical system. These recommendations are detailed in the individual reports found in the Appendix. The prioritized list of preservation recommendations outlines work such as foundation repointing, installation of a roof drainage system and cladding and trim repairs. A cyclical maintenance plan is also included in this report in order to assist the town in continuing to maintain the property in a systematic way that will insure its survival into the next century.

A report on accessibility recommendations and improvements that could be implemented to provide universal access to at least the first floor which houses the Egremont Free Library is also included. The Massachusetts Building Code does allow for a historic building to not strictly comply with the code if alternative access can be provided. Providing access to the library in a manner that is sensitive to the historic building will be critical to maintaining the integrity of this National Register property.

The Town of Egremont can be proud of the way it has provided for stewardship of Mount Everett Academy over time. The CME team is grateful to have worked with the Town in the preparation of this study, and pleased to provide a document that will serve as a guide for future preservation efforts.

Caroline Alexander