A Message From the President of ACEHA (March 2019)
Dear Echo Hall Supporters,
After a long and soggy Winter, Spring is finally arriving in Augusta. We’re especially grateful for warmer temperatures because it makes Echo Hall restoration activities so much easier! Masonry craftsmen have been working tirelessly through the cold and wet to replace brick and mortar, and volunteers have been continuing interior salvage and demolitions without the benefit of heating. Keep up with the progress: www.saveechohall.com.
Last month Board members began the essential work of strategic planning for the completion of Echo Hall redevelopment and to prepare for community/public use of Echo Hall. The strategic planning process will continue over the next few months. Member input will be sought through a variety of methods, to be determined. Please be prepared to share your ideas!
A major component of our strategic planning is establishing a budget for Echo Hall redevelopment in a manner that satisfies several criteria simultaneously. We must ensure structural stability and integrity of the building. This includes wall repair, floor joist replacement, rafter replacement, chimney restoration, and roof replacement. We must reclaim and reuse some amount of historical building material in order to convey the fundamental, architectural uniqueness of Echo Hall. What is not possible to reclaim and reuse must be replaced with modern materials suitable to the purposes and circumstances of the building. These materials include windows, doors, trim, and baseboards. We must prepare the building for public use. To do this we must install public restrooms, fire exits, and building access that complies with guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Electric wiring must be modernized. Updated, zonal and energy-efficient HVAC must be designed and installed. Lighting must be replaced and updated throughout the building. Flooring must be replaced. A portion of the building must be configured for meeting rooms and other portions must be configured for historical and cultural displays. Therefore, audio-visual equipment will be needed. Additional considerations include window treatments, inclusion of a kitchen, space for archiving records and collections, room furnishings, and how to manage and monitor community/public use of the building. It is plainly evident, then, that completing even a modest redevelopment of Echo Hall will require a substantial budget.
As the Board prepares an overall budget for completing a modest redevelopment of Echo Hall, it is determining how to raise the necessary funds to support the budget. Fundraising methods currently under consideration include a major capital campaign, multiple large fundraiser events, and seeking foundation grants, competitive federal and state grants, and in-kind support. Concurrently, we will continue with our regular, smaller fundraisers and continue with annual membership drives. Please stay tuned for more information about fundraising plans and opportunities to get involved in fundraising and redevelopment activities.
With completion of strategic planning and structural stabilization of the building we will emerge from a long “winter” of foundational work and enter into a “spring season of renewal” for Echo Hall. We will begin the highly energetic and more visible processes of reviving a building that ties our community to a profound historical past and connects us to the promise of a rich future. I hope you will join us in celebrating each and every milestone!