Williams Renovation Wins Preservation Burlington Award

Skillful restoration of Williams Hall’s historic slate roof and trademark copper ventilators earned the University of Vermont one of three 2002 Historic Preservation Awards given by Preservation Burlington, a community organization dedicated to preserving the architectural, historic and aesthetic vitality of the city. The award was presented during a ceremony in Burlington’s Union Station on March 26. Thomas Visser, professor of historic preservation, and Ralph Olberg, project manager in architectural and engineering services, accepted the honor on the institution’s behalf. The project entailed removing all of the building’s roof slate and salvaging approximately half of it. Matching new slate came from a quarry in New Brunswick, Canada. The copper flashing was replicated with some modifications made to decrease ice build-up around the roof edges. All of the terra cotta caps and ornamental figures were cleaned, repined and re-pointed to their original locations. Deteriorated dormer windows were repaired, re-glazed and reinstalled. Restorers found that two of the three copper cupola ventilators atop the roof were deteriorated to the point where they were ready to fall off the building. Vulcan Supply Corporation brought the fixtures to their shop in Milton where they were able to salvage many of the significant ornamental elements and reintegrate them with new copper ventilators designed to match the original structures. Williams Science Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the University Green Historic District. The building was built in 1896 with donated funds from Edward H. Williams of the Baldwin Locomotive Company of Philadelphia. The building’s exterior includes a magnificent slate roof, ornate copper ventilators, dormers, terra cotta medallions and three reliefs of prominent scientists. To preserve the building’s historic character, the university assembled a team of specialists for the renovation that included architect Marty Sienkiewycz and the firms of H.P. Cummings Construction, Alpine Restoration, Vulcan Supply Corporation and Rodd Roofing. -Press Release