By G. Michael Dobbs
GRANBY – Kellogg Hall has been many things since it was built in 1896 – a school, town hall, a place for religious services – and a group of preservationists want to see the life of the building continued.
Recently a group from the Granby Preservation Society (GPS) toured the now vacant building to assess its physical condition. It has been closed almost three years.
GPS member Daisy Courtois Pennell explained the group would like to see the building restored and “ be as green as possible.”
She added, “We want to be proud of it.”
Fellow GPS member Gary Phelps believes a renovation of the building would cost between $700,000 and $1.5 million. He said that GPS has secured agreements with various contractors who would donate part or all of their services and that the nonprofit would seek grants and donations.
“We would do it without tax payer dollars,” Phelps said.
The GPS group would like to purchase the property, which includes the now closed garage in the back, but must wait until the results of a Request for Proposals issued by the Board of Selectmen has completed its process, Phelps explained.
The group hopes to be able to buy the two buildings for a $1.
They envision a mixed use for the historic] structure that might include some retail space on the first floor, Pennell said.
Phelps said, “Our focus for the future is the town will have some place to come.”
Their goal would be to have the building renovated in fours years to celebrate the town’s 250th anniversary.
Touring the building, the group first went into the attic where they were happy to see no evidence of structural damage or roof leaks. The bell that once rang in the attic area would be restored.
On the second floor, the members examined what had once been an auditorium that had since been divided into offices for town offices. They expressed how they would like to see it restored to an auditorium.
On the first floor, Pennell noticed how the contemporary drop ceiling in the former Board of Selectmen’s office covered a vintage tin ceiling that appeared to be in good shape.
The members noted the rest rooms in the building would have to brought up to date and become accessible for the disabled. To make the second floor compliant, they said an elevator would have to be added to the floor, and Phelps said they have considered removing the two large safes in the building that are in the basement and first floor as the area for an elevator shaft.
The former Department of Public Works and Fire Department garages behind Kellogg Hall would also be part of the renovation effort. The pools of water, fallen ceiling tiles and back mold show the building has a severe roof issue.
Looking at Kellogg Hall, GPS member Cynthia Phelps said, “It's so central to Granby I can’t imagine Granby without it.”