The Village Board has awarded a $49,750 contract to put a new roof on the historic Round Lake Auditorium, where leaks potentially threaten a unique historic pipe organ.
However, the board had to temporarily postpone plans to repaint the building after learning the old paint contains toxic lead.
Bids for the painting contract were rejected at a meeting this week and the project will be re-bid with provisions for removal of lead paint added. The lead was discovered through testing after an inquiry from the painters’ union when the job was first bid.
“With lead paint removal, this is going to cost $70,000 to $90,000,” said Mayor Dixie Lee Sacks.
The roughly $50,000 needed for the roof replacement is already in hand, but to pay for the painting and several other capital projects, the board voted to borrow up to $215,000.
The roof contract was awarded to Finkle Builders of Round Lake, which is expected to start work soon.
Village officials still hope the painting work can be done this fall or early next spring, before the auditorium season starts.
“We’re well on our way to getting the auditorium painted, and then the auditorium will be in tip-top shape on the outside,” Sacks said.
The building maintenance will help protect the 1847 Ferris tracker organ above the auditorium’s stage as well as preserve the 123-year-old building.
The organ is so unusual and historically significant that the National Park Service is considering analyzing its inner workings as part of a process that could lead to National Landmark status for the building.
The auditorium, built in 1885, was originally used for the religious revival meetings that were the community’s founding purpose a few years earlier. It’s the last remaining institutional building from that era, though many of the village’s houses date from that Victorian era.
The massive old barn-like building remains in use, with a summer concert and performance series.
In 2004, the village used $439,000 in federal and state grant money to repair the stone and wood foundation and otherwise stabilize the structure, but at the time there wasn’t money for the roof.
In addition to the work at the auditorium, other projects covered in the $215,000 bond issue include new gas furnaces and air conditioning for the village hall, adding a new bay on the village garage to replace a storage barn and buying a new plow-equipped pickup truck.
By borrowing the $215,000 over seven years, Sacks believes there won’t be an increase in village taxes.