In summarizing the progress in installing its three-story elevator wing at Black River Academy Museum (BRAM), Anita Alic, Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee for BRAM, noted, "We are amazed at our audacity in taking on such a daunting project as a separate tower for an elevator and an essential second set of fire stairs. We realized that the future of the museum depended on our ability to use the building to its fullest extent."
Alic continued by noting that "the initial size of the tower needed to increase by 20 percent as we had to switch the placement of the elevator cab and the fire stairs due to sandy, unstable sub-soil. This increased the cost by about 20 percent, but we felt it was essential to proceed. Various "work order" changes, although each relatively small, added at least another $15,000. Problems with water leaks in the existing building, related to the tower's connection, are also costing us more money. But the truly unexpected cost - $28,500 - is the fire protection upgrade mandated by becoming fully accessible."
BRAM now has approved points of egress on all three exhibition floors. With the installation of the elevator cab, it will be in total compliance with ADA requirements and enable area students and visitors to take advantage of its extensive collection and exhibits of Black River history.
In reviewing funding for the elevator wing and cab, Alic said, "We have been able to cover these added costs, but every penny takes away from the elevator cab itself. We have and are applying for all grants that are available to us. Unfortunately, our project does not qualify for any historical preservation grants, as it is new construction - even though we are preserving the integrity of our historic building, listed on the National Register. We have been fortunate to receive an $18,000 grant from Vermont Cultural Facilities Coalition and the State of Vermont, a $1000 grant from the Walter Cert Community Fund of the VT Community Foundation and two gifts, each $10,000, from the Town of Ludlow through the Enterprise Fund."
Alic added that donations of all sizes are appreciated. They may be sent to BRAM, PO Box 73, Ludlow, VT 05149.