Jasper’s Reclaim Community awarded grant for Bauman Hall east wall

Jasper organization Reclaim Community has been awarded a Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) & Cultural Heritage grant of $173,026 to repair the east wall of Bauman Hall. In a letter addressed to Elicia Kortus, founder and president of Reclaim Community, the MNHS notified the organization of their award for the repair and reconstruction of the Sioux Quartzite masonry wall. Reclaim Community is expecting 30% of the funds to be released sometime this week after the signing of the grant contract.

Kortus said the next step for the organization is to prepare and release the request for proposals and specs, and to publish a notice for qualified contractors to submit bids for the contract.

“We have meetings to set the specific timelines and deadlines for posting, advertising and contractor tours, etc.,” she said. “That schedule gets going in February and we hope to pick a contractor before May to get work done in the best weather conditions this summer. Then there are several timelines for mortar testing, checking everything in the process and responding to any changes that happen as contingencies.”

Kortus said they expect to have the work completed by November, but that closing out the grant paperwork and any reporting may take a few months, going into 2023. To receive the funds, which are released in four to five disbursements throughout the life of the grant, the organization must maintain timeline and progress check points.

Reclaim Community purchased Bauman Hall in 2018 with the intent to repair the building. In 2019 they received a $10,000 grant for a conditions assessment by LHB Inc. In 2020, they received a $53,000 grant for construction designs, plans and specs for wall and roof repairs in phase two of their plans. The latest grant is to make the masonry and roof repairs that are causing the east wall of the building to buckle, Kortus said.

“That entire section will be rebuilt and repointed inside and out,” she said. “It could be several months before people see physical changes or large equipment at the site. Planning takes a long time and we also have a conservator being consulted on the best way to preserve or abate the second floor plaster at the site of the wall repair because it contains 2% asbestos, which is 1% above the permitted limit in plaster.”

Kortus said that the presence of asbestos is not a sentence for demolition for the building, because it must be encapsulated or abated regardless of whether you tear down or remodel the building.