PITTSFIELD -- A major rehabilitation of the historic James A. Bowes Building off Park Square is well underway.
The $2.8 million state-funded project, under general contractor Allegrone Construction of Pittsfield, will refurbish the stone facade and other exterior and interior features of the structure, which houses the Middle District Registry of Deeds and Berkshire County Probate and Family Court.
The façade will be cleaned with attention to preserving historic details, and much of the stonework will be dismantled, marked for placement and then reassembled over a 12-month period.
Other work includes bringing restrooms and the front and rear entrances up to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, a new fire alarm system, roof work, renovations throughout the offices, a ventilation system upgrade, modifications to the elevator, interior door replacements and installation of an emergency generator.
A number of head-in parking spaces in front of the building off Park Square have been fenced off to protect pedestrians. Overhead safety shielding also will protect those entering and exiting the building, which is expected to remain open throughout the construction. Construction of the access ramps in front will be completed first.
Also known as the Old Athenaeum building, the structure served as the city's library until it was replaced by the Berkshire Athenaeum on Wendell Avenue in 1976.
It was constructed in 1876 and a major rear addition was added in 1896. The last major reconstruction project at the site was in 1970-80.