PITTSBURG, KS.--- The Historic Stilwell Hotel in Pittsburg is undergoing major renovations. Hotel Stilwell has been apart of the Pittsburg community for 123 years. In an effort to ensure the hotel will be around for another 100 years, the people of Pittsburg have decided the renovations should focus on strengthening its foundation. Work crews began construction on the Historic Stilwell Hotel this week.
"It's a historic building, and we as preservationists feel that it's a viable part of Pittsburg and Southeast Kansas. So we want to maintain it," said Sara Henry, Executive Director.
They want to stabilize the foundation by eliminating the amount of water underneath the building. To do this, they are creating a number of new drains, which will surround the perimeter of the structure.
"Everything starts at the foundation of any building. Anytime that you have a wet foundation, you are going to have issues of settling. And this is what we want to correct. Even though the building has been here a long time, it does take deterioration from when you have the water sitting in the foundation," said Brian Berndt, General Contractor.
Crews are also trying to reinforce beams and columns to ensure the foundation is strong enough to support the hotel years down the road. To complete the process, crews will have to remove three and a half football fields of dirt, which has been resting underneath the structure for more than 100 years.
"All these stones in this building, I forget how many years ago, but they were done by hand and hand pitched. We have to take good care in making sure that they don't get disrupted through this process," said Derek Heikes, Contractor.
Construction should last about three to four months. The first phase of the project will cost about $123,000 dollars. $90,000 is being provided through a grant from the Kansas Heritage Trust Fund. We won't be able to see any of the renovations, but they should help the building stand for hopefully another century.
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