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NEWBERRY – The Little Red Schoolhouse has long been an iconic structure in Newberry. But due to its historic nature and age, maintenance of the structure is an ongoing necessity.  Director of Utilities and Public Works, Jamie Jones approached Newberry City Commissioners with a request for City Manager Mike New to authorize an increase the current contract value with The Rose Group, LLC of Jacksonville.  “The change order is necessary,” said Jones,” in order for the contractor to perform additional required work on the Little Red Schoolhouse building.”

The building, which was constructed in 1909, served as the local school house for several years, but is currently used to house the administrative offices for the City of Newberry Building, Planning and Code Enforcement Departments and also as a museum.

The change order is for $28,000 for additional work necessary “to prevent water leaking into the building,” said Jones.  The additional funds will pay to replace bricks on the windowsills, the south chimney and additional tuck pointing on the north and east building facades.

Commissioners authorized the execution of the change order to enable the work to be completed while The Rose Group is still on site and also to hopefully prevent additional water from seeping into the structure.

Paul Stresing Associates of Alachua performed an architectural assessment of the interior and exterior of the building in August 2015.  One of the main findings from the assessment was that the brick and mortar joints on the exterior of the building had deteriorated to the point that water was collecting and migrating into the interior of the wall.  

“Repair of the exterior wall system and interior remodeling of the building are identified in the City’s five-year Capital Improvement Project list,” Jones said.  In order to fund the necessary repairs, the City applied unsuccessfully for a number of grants.  “Ultimately, the City moved the project forward with funding from non-grant sources following the Stresing report.”

In response to the assessment, specifications were developed for masonry repairs on the structure in fall 2019.  Of the three bids received for the work, the lowest responsive bidder was The Rose Group at $38,000.  

Until work began, it was difficult to determine that additional work would need to be done to preserve the structure said Jones. 

The total cost of all repairs to the historic structure will be $66,000.

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