St. Mane Theatre undergoes facility assessment,
air quality test in preparation for renovation
Thursday, May 23, 2013 4:11 AM
Earlier this year, a complete facility assessment and air quality test was conducted at the St. Mane Theatre in Lanesboro in preparation for its renovation to begin this coming December. Lanesboro Arts Center is currently raising funds for the renovation of the St. Mane Theatre as one component of the Lanesboro Arts Campus capital campaign.
The team of professionals who conducted the testing included lead architect AWH Architects of Minneapolis, building conditions analyst BVH Architects, mechanical/electrical engineers MEP Associates, and air quality consultant Terracon. Collectively, the team brought a vast array of experience and aptitude to the project.
The team affirmed that the building is currently safe for occupancy, though concluded improvements should be made to increase its efficiency, egress, life safety and accessibility to bring the building up to contemporary building and code standards.
As the planning progresses for the improvements, existing conditions such as the lobby and the lower level restrooms, currently acceptable under the Minnesota Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings, will be considered for improvements. In addition, the largely unused second floor of the St. Mane will be addressed when it is renovated into an artist residency studio and living space.
The team also concluded that plans for renovation should include a more robust fire and life safety system including emergency lighting and whole building fire alarm and suppression system.
As is very common for this vintage building, the roof lacks sufficient insulation which will be improved to prevent energy loss and vastly increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.
The building for the most part has recent improvements to the electrical and mechanical systems and they are within their serviceable life, but plans include reviewing and analyzing the systems to improve efficiency and ventilation which will markedly increase the overall life cycle costs of operation and comfort.
For the air quality and mold assessment, Terracon's Senior Project Industrial Hygienist Todd Lewis performed a series of tests including visual inspection, moisture content sampling, mold spore traps, and detection of carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and methane.
Moisture content and bioaerosol samples did not indicate the presence of mold, with experts agreeing that the musty smell in the building is likely caused by the dirt slab in the basement crawl space, water infiltration at the rear addition of the building, and the lack of a sufficient outside air exchange system.
These findings were reported by lead architect Alex Haecker, AIA of AWH Architects at Lanesboro Arts Center's annual meeting on March 16.
Alex commented, "The building is a charming historic structure and example of Lanesboro's long running commitment to the arts, although is certainly in need of some sensitive and appropriate improvements to continue it's legacy well into the future. We are honored to be involved with such an important part of the region's heritage."