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Getting it straight B B F Staff Writer

The Pine Grove Community Center now sits a little straighter, with a new foundation, a fresh coat of paint, a snazzy new interior and a brighter future. The newly renovated building at  Pine Valley Road, which was built around  as a Methodist church, is now a showpiece of Pine Grove’s architectural history. Not only does it provide a meeting place with historical flair, but the items found at an archaeological dig at the site highlight the building’s history. One of the first meetings in the center was a celebration May  to honor the volunteers, hard work and history of the building. Pat Lang, general contractor for the restoration, said the project cost ,, and the end result is a beautiful building that the town can be proud of. “I’m proud of my community that did this,” Lang said. “They put the building back together.”

Work done by locals

Lang said most of the contractors who worked on the project were local craftsmen. Carpenter Scott Melvin said he and other volunteers tried to make the building structurally sound yet maintain the historic value by using appropriate materials. Melvin said he’s driven by the building for many years, and each time he yearned for a chance at repairing the damage done by age, wind and weather. “We got it as good as it could be with the building so far out of square and level,” he said. “I’m very satisfied with the results. I drive by it now, and it looks good.” The first job of the restoration project was to square up the building, because it leaned  inches to one side. A crisscross of frames and cables inside provided stability while moving the building off its crumbling rock bed. Then, the next job was to move the building  feet to the west while the new foundation was poured. Then the building was returned to its original location. The biggest worry Lang had was whether the building would fit on its new foundation. “It’s a very flexible building,” she said. “It fit perfectly.”

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For renovated Pine Grove Community Center, it’s definitely hip to be square

Archaeological history

Steve Dominguez, an archaeologist formerly with RMC Consultants, performed a dig on the site and played sleuth for bits and pieces of history. “This was really enjoyable to do this project,” he said. During the initial excavation of the underside last summer, a woman’s shoe was found, and Dominguez was happy to fi nd the other shoe a short distance from its mate. Other items found were medicine bottles, a container of something that looked like rouge, matchboxes, a railroad spike, tools, a book with a hand-stitched binding, and a ballot from a long-forgotten election. “You could even see the names on the ballots, and we know who those people were,” Lang said. “We wonder if someone just stuffed the ballot down between the boards in the floor for some reason.” All items found under the building were cataloged and preserved, and no items were taken from the historic site, Lang said. Shelly Means, a board member with the Pine/Elk Creek Improvement Association, said a , grant from the State Historic Fund, part of the Colorado Historical Society, paid to restore and paint the outside, move the structure, build the new foundation, straighten the walls, add a new roof and gutters, improve the grade, and fortify a stone wall behind the center. Volunteers paid for and made repairs to the inside of the building. They painted, oiled the walls, repaired the wood and metal benches, and hung pictures. Means said the stone wall behind the center was important to help protect the structure. Historical photos show the area inundated by floodwaters sometime around . Means said the image shows  feet of debris washed down the hillside. “It was unbelievable” Means said, “almost like there was a cloudburst right over the town.” Contact Barbara Ford at barbara@evergreenco.com or --. Check www.High TimberTimes.com for updates.

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Above: Cindy Jorgenson, left, and Kathy Lingo, an architect with Avenue L Architects, the firm that designed the community center renovation plans, discuss the historic photos inside the Pine Grove Community Center. Left: The newly renovatd Pine Grove Community Center. Bottom: The interior of the center. Photos by BARBARA FORD | The Times

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'Getting it straight' High Timber Times 05-18-2011