Starting in early May we began an historic renovation at Cornell University’s Sage House. Sage House is a stone building on Seneca Street in Ithaca; the building was built in the 1860s as an infirmary. Sage house is currently used by Cornell University Press.
Phase one of this large project was to replace the slate roof. Our job was to refinish twelve dormers on the roof. Dormers are sections of the house built into the roof, in this case as rooms on the third floor. All of the paint that was currently on the building contained lead. Because this was a lead paint job we had to comply with all of OSHA’s regulations and procedures. OSHA is the occupational safety and health agency, which is a federal agency that helps to protect workers from unsafe work hazards and environments. Our company has been working with OSHA for many years to make our job sites as safe as possible for our staff and customers. OSHA’s procedures for dealing with lead paint are that all of our staff must get their blood tested to check blood levels, and that we must have an air monitoring system working when we were scraping the dormers. Air monitoring tests the level of lead particles in the air to show which level of respiratory protection we need to use. Testing showed that our procedures were safe, meaning that our employees and other company workers were kept safe from lead poisoning. It is a relief to know that another building in Ithaca is no longer has exposed lead paint.
There was an interesting color debate between University architects and an historic architectural firm that was hired by the university. Many, many color samples were made by Blue Spruce Painting before a final color was chosen. A dark brown was the chosen color. I myself would not have chosen this color, but in the end the dormers looked very stately. I would have preferred a color similar to the one on Jaden Hall, which is a building on Cornell’s campus that is of similar age and type of stone as Sage House. The color on Jaden Hall is more of a reddish brown, which I like better.
We were working for a wonderful general contractor called C&D Waterproofing, a company from Bloomsburg Pennsylvania. After finishing the dormers we began painting the eves on the upper part of Sage House. This was Phase one. We hope to be a part of Phase two, which is to repaint the lower sections of the house and grind out and repoint the mortar between the stones on the rest of the building.