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Historic Public Hall Restored Using Detail-Oriented Approach

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Best Small Project (Under $10 Million) & Excellence in Safety Award: Riverside Renaissance - Municipal Auditorium Improvement, Riverside

Photo by Shane Papp
The project included a seismic retrofit of the interior and exterior, new building systems and restored decorative details.
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Built in 1928, the four-story Riverside Municipal Auditorium needed a total renovation, seismic retrofit and re-roofing. The cast-in-place, reinforced concrete building includes two six-story towers and a basement.

Meticulous craftsmanship was required to integrate the building's original historic character with all-new building systems. The project team also had to complete a hazardous-material abatement without damaging irreplaceable materials on the structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The contractor performed a seismically sound exterior and interior renovation and restored decorative finishes. New utility services were installed and 1,500 damaged concrete areas were repaired by using historic mortar. The project also added full ADA access to the lower dressing rooms and stage area.

Outdated MEP/HVAC components and exterior and interior lighting were replaced with energy-efficient systems, and interior finishes, acoustical treatments and new signage were installed.

The project team discovered that the building's plumbing had galvanized piping. That required replacing the entire supply system in copper.

Another surprise came when the assumed concrete deck underneath the second-story Deaver Hall turned out to be wood-framed, complicating abatement because the historic lobby was located directly underneath Deaver Hall.

Even small details were carefully addressed. A fountain donated in 1928, which had stopped working in the 1990s, was revived when the team rewired it and replaced the pump works and piping. The building's 900 original chairs were sandblasted and hand-painted. An eagle statue, perched over the facade, was repaired to restore its glory.

The judges were impressed by the team's attention to detail and its spotless safety record. "Projects that have hidden conditions require detailed planning and training," one safety judge said. "The team worked together to find solutions to deal with hazardous material abatement, with the care not to damage historic materials."

Key Players

Contractor Stronghold Engineering Inc., Riverside

Owner City of Riverside

Lead Design Ravatt, Albrecht & Associates Inc., Santa Maria

Subcontractors Allison Mechanical Inc., Redlands; Best Interiors, Anaheim; Gibson & Gibson Antique Lighting, Chula Vista; M&E Construction, Riverside; RCB & Sons, Riverside; The Judson Studios, Los Angeles

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