Part III: Tomorrow
Since the 1970s, Blue Ridge has embarked on a number of fund-raising activities for maintaining the classic revival architecture of our original buildings, as well as adding new year-round facilities. While Lee Hall is the most treasured building at Blue Ridge, it is also perhaps the most weathered and worn. After a century of use by thousands of youth and adults, it has recently become clear that Lee Hall is in need of a major renovation. It is important for us to preserve Lee Hall in its most authentic state, as it holds countless memories and stories in its past.
Over the years the elements have caused mold, rot, and structural damage to Lee Hall. This massive building sits in the center of campus and suffers serious drainage problems. Much of the buildings infrastructure is deteriorated, and some is even non-functional. Of the original materials and finishes of siding, windows and plaster that are still in require constant maintenance.
Last spring, Blue Ridge hired a local architect and contractor specializing in historic preservation to assess the feasibility and scope of a Lee Hall renovation. We also assembled a design team consisting of staff, commercial and landscape architects, a general contractor, plumbing, mechanical and electrical engineers, an energy management consultant and the Buncombe County building safety officials and fire marshal. This team of experts inspected Lee Hall and identified several recommendations ranging from essential foundational repair to the preservation of historic aesthetic features. These concerns have now become the 5 phases of the master plan for the Robert E. Lee Hall Renovation Project. They include:
1) Repairing, restructuring, and waterproof the foundation and structural supports, re-gradating of the site, and adding additional fire exits and vehicle and handicap accessibility
2) Updating building construction and safety elements to current code, including new fire alarm systems
3) Salvage and preservation of doors, windows, siding, etc.
4) Modernizations and upgrades, including private bathrooms and electrical outlets in the bedrooms
5) Plumbing, electrical, and mechanical issues, including addition of heating and cooling systems and new water heaters.
Phase I is set to be complete by May 2011, just before the busy summer season. Each additional phase will be implemented during the slower fall and winter months.
The preservation and restoration of Robert E. Lee Hall will be a multi-year, multiyear undertaking funded by an enormous capital campaign. Board members, trustees and staff are contacting individuals, corporations and foundations to secure the financial support needed for this massive yet imperative project. While our goal is to preserve Robert E. Lee Hall, the heart of our request isn’t about a building – it’s about continuing to serve youth and provide positive life-changing experiences.
We are asking for your help and support in this restoration project which will allow us to extend services and impact thousands of lives for centuries to come.
YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly is currently in the running for a $250,000 grant to PRESERVE LEE HALL with the Pepsi Refresh Project!
Blue Ridge friends and family, YOU can help determine the future of this wonderful and historic building. Please VOTE as often as possible for the entire month of January! (You may vote twice per day…once on the website and also by texting *105483 to PEPSI (73774) from any mobile phone.) Help us “Save Lee Hall”! Remember, every vote counts in this amazing opportunity.