Taghum Hall is getting an extensive renovation. The $300,000 reconstruction project began in mid-August.
Hall secretary treasurer Deborah Wilson said they are using several years of grant funding from the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Columbia Basin Trust, and federal gas tax rebate ($136,000) towards anything that improves energy efficiency — windows, doors, insulation, heating system, hot water system, plumbing.
“It is a major reno since the original building was never built to any code at all,” said Wilson.
“The main hall walls were slowly falling outwards, so they have been replaced. The roof needed a lot of extra structural support work done (unknown until it was exposed) as it had sagged a lot.”
The main floor required shoring up as well and the flooring had rotted around the chimney from the furnace.
“We are going from an old propane furnace to heat pumps and on-demand water heaters to replace the hot water tank. With the hall not open 24/7, heating water continuously is so wasteful.”
New tall windows have been installed which opens up the view on the Kootenay River. The hall will finally be wheelchair accessible which has hindered the hall from being used as a voting station in the past. The bathrooms will be moved from the front of the hall to the north backside.
The kitchen and back storage shed will remain the same for the time being. “There’s no money for those areas…yet,” Wilson said.
“Our super contractor, Peter Gosney Carpentry and Construction Ltd., expects to have the work done by November. As with all reconstruction, surprises are always around the next corner, so that date has to be seen as somewhat flexible.”
Wilson said Ron Mickel, Area F director, has been a staunch supporter of the hall renovation from the start and is grateful to Andrew Swan of Swan Engineering for his input as to structural integrity requirements. She also thanked the main carpenter, “who has done amazing stuff in our old hall.”
The hall was originally a Japanese internment home in New Denver, according to Wilson, “before local guys brought it back on the back of trucks in 1955. ”
The hall was reconstructed at the current site on Taghum Hall Road.
During renovations last week, contractors found old wall boards with the black stencilled words “Japanese repatriate transpacific” and “passenger” on the inside of an old wall. Wilson said it’s a mystery where the boards came from but they’re being saved.
The renovations and wheelchair accessible status will allow for voting (although not likely for this year’s elections) and more school functions. The very regular Starry Nights astronomy program held outside for the last couple of years will continue.
Popular for weddings and community functions such as Hallowe’en parties, Wilson said the hall has “such a beautiful location right on the river with mountain views.”
Once renovations are complete, the hall will be available for rental. Contact Cheryl Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-352-5226 for information.