Firehouse gallery facelift in the works

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Since its construction in 1914, the Bainbridge-Decatur County Firehouse has seen a few renovations.

This spring comes another facelift, one that will see a new floor and new kitchen in the gallery area.

“We have been wanting to do this for a while and never had the money to do it,” Firehouse Gallery administrative director Gerard Kwilecki said.

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Money left behind in the Fogg Charitable Trust, belonging to a woman who recently passed away, was earmarked for renovations at the Firehouse Gallery.

Since its last major renovation 12 years old, appliances have failed, wood has rotted and the floors have been chipped and stained.

Even the mortar holding the bricks together around the outside is eroding.

“Moisture is seeping through the brick,” Kwilecki said. Something as gentle as running a finger across the mortar creates a small cloud of debris, so he had a clear silicone sealer put on the bricks to slow the erosion. “It won’t make it better, but it will keep it from getting worse.”

The trim around the windows and doors has been splashed with a fresh coat of white paint, and the doors have been repainted their original colors as well. The main gallery room will see the biggest portion of the renovation.

A new gray tile floor will be laid in May, covering the painted concrete floor there now. The problem is the paint is chipping away, revealing a layer of red lead paint underneath.

Kwilecki wants that covered, and hired a flooring company out of Thomasville to find the best way to do it.
“We have painted it three times over the years, but the biggest problem is it was originally painted red, and that was lead paint,” Kwilecki said. “The company will poor down a leveler for certain places it’s in bad shape. Then they will put down a plastic barrier and lay the tile on top of the plastic.”

The floor will essentially be floating on the plastic barrier. It shouldn’t be more than a half-inch raise, Kwilecki said. In the kitchen, particle board decay is leaving crumbs of wood all over the place.

The plan is to tear out all the cabinets and failing appliances, replacing them with new ones.

“This is the only place in town we know of we can do art exhibits, art camps, adult art classes,” Kwilecki said. “We would like to keep it.”

The renovations are expected to be finished by July 1.