SOUTH EGREMONT SCHOOL
The South Egremont Village School is one of the last one room schoolhouses in continuous operation in the United States. Built in the heart of the National Register Historic District of the South Egremont Village, this original 1880 single story wood frame structure was built for utility and it has fulfilled its function well. It was a state of the art school room with large windows, maximizing day-lighting, and faced south to gather solar warmth in the winter months. These are passive principles of energy efficient design that are universal and sustainable. Over the years, the school has fulfilled a K-12 program to currently housing a fully subscribed K-1 program with a variety of changes installed to accommodate its educational function.
In December of 2013 CME Architecture, Inc. was contracted by the Town of Egremont to perform a conditions assessment and to develop a treatment plan for the School building. 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 findings are presented in the body of this report as well as in the Appendix.
At present there are issues relating to the integrity of the structure that require immediate attention. Foremost is the sculpting of grade on the north face of the building to facilitate positive drainage away from the foundation. Once this work has been accomplished, the compromised wood sill, corner post and cladding on the north and west facades can be rehabilitated. Further building envelop work to provide a weather tight enclosure will include roof drainage systems, foundation repointing, cleaning of roof shingles and repair of deteriorated siding and trim.
Other recommended improvements within the building include upgrades to the fire alarm system, additional emergency lighting, installation of energy efficient lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures and furnace. These recommendations are detailed in the individual reports found in the Appendix. The prioritized list of preservation recommendations outlines work such as grading, sill repair, foundation repointing, installation of roof drainage systems 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.
The Appendix also contains a report on accessibility recommendations and improvements that could be implemented to provide universal access to the main floor. The Massachusetts Building Code does allow for a historic building to not strictly comply with the code if alternative access can be provided. However, in the process of retrofitting the toilet rooms to be energy efficient, features could readily be installed that would provide universal access. The sensitive design of an exterior ramping system could provide access to the classrooms while maintaining the integrity of this National Register property.