Tuesday, June 16, 2015 || By Michael Romain
The Maywood Board of Trustees is considering the possibility of moving the village’s administrative functions from 40 Madison Street to the historically significant Maywood Masonic Temple building at 200 S. 5th Avenue, which the village currently owns.
At a June 10, Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Frank Heitzman of Heitzman Architects in Oak Park presented findings from a reuse study his firm conducted earlier this year. The study was funded through a $5,000 grant secured by the village’s Historic Preservation Commission to study the adaptive reuse of the Temple building, long an underutilized architectural gem nestled in the heart of Maywood’s downtown.
The June 10 conversations marked a turning point in what has been a rather lengthy gestation process among the few people who hatched the idea in the first place — among them, Tom Kus, the chairman of the village’s Historic Preservation Commission, and Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers. Rogers, an architect by trade.
“I think this is going to be an excellent bookend,” said Kus, adding that he sees the Masonic Temple renovation as part of more comprehensive redevelopment activity, which includes the other bookend, the renovation of part of the Soldiers’ Widows Home (another historically significant building), that his commission has tried to jumpstart in the downtown area.
“We took a field trip to La Grange, [which] did something very similar with an old county building,” Kus said. “They restored it and turned it into their village hall and it’s a wonderful resource for them.”
“The Maywood Masonic Temple, 200 South Fifth Avenue, is a four story, 12,000 square foot brick and limestone building designed by E. E. Roberts and constructed in 1917,” notes a memo prepared by Heitzman. “It served as the Maywood Lodge Masonic Temple from its dedication, May 19, 1917, until the 1980s. The Maywood Masonic Temple was placed on National Register of Historic Places June 5, 1992, and was listed as a Maywood landmark in 2009.”
For at least the last decade, the Temple building has functioned as a multipurpose recreational space, with the building’s stately top floors closed off from the public. The building’s cavernous space and its history of underutilization, proponents say, make it an ideal fit for a future village hall.
Heitzman said, currently, the village’s administration functions in a public works building that was never intended to be a village hall — a point that Rogers has made in prior board discussions.
“What we tried to do is to see what you have now [at 40 Madison] and see if it fits in the Masonic Temple building,” Heitzman said. “I believe it not [only] fits, but you’ll have additional space available to you in the Masonic Temple.”
Both Heitzman and Karl Palmquist, the village’s urban planner, said that the building is structurally sound and is conveniently located in the heart of town.
“This building is a standing resource for the village that can be restored to accommodate current and future village needs,” Palmquist said. “It is structurally sound and fully fire protected. In my opinion, I feel it is a good location for the village hall to be located at … We’re nowhere near the downtown [at 40 Madison] and getting back to 5th Avenue, the heart of the village, would make sense.”
Heitzman estimated that it would cost somewhere upwards of $1 million to fully adapt the Masonic Temple to suit the needs of the village employees and residents, who officials envision utilizing the building for recreational activities.
Heitzman said the “big ticket items” in the renovation process would be the installation of two new HVAC units on the third and fourth floors, which would cost roughly $300,000; and the extension of the elevator lift to the third floor, which would cost about $100,000. He said all of the building’s basic infrastructure, such as sewer, electrical and water systems, are sufficiently operational.
Most of the rehab activity, Heitzman said, would be concentrated on what amounts to architectural cosmetic surgery — restoring missing plaster, painting and patching things up. He also noted that the first and second floors would need to be subdivided with partitions in order to accommodate offices and conference room space.
“This building is historic, stately,” said Rogers. “[The upper levels] been basically closed off the last couple years … It’s pretty much a tragedy that those spaces haven’t been utilized, particularly with the need for arts and culture and those kinds of things.”
Rogers said that the Temple should have been converted to a village hall 10 years ago. That’s before the St. Charles TIF [Tax Increment Financing] district retired. With the absence of TIF funds, the board will have to utilize other means of funding the renovations, if it decides to act on the proposal at all. Heitzman recommended the board utilize a professional cost estimator to draw up more precise financial projections (which board members ultimately directed staff to do) before doing much of anything else.
“I think it’s important that we establish trying to have a better image, trying to get more respect for ourselves,” Rogers said. “Just starting off with the mayor, clerk and trustees — we need spaces where we can have conversations with people and move things forward and they need not be embarrassing. We got to get better.”
Heitzman floor renovation plans for Masonic Temple
Heintzman’s project recommendations at Temple building
- Distribute existing rooms on the 1st and 2nd floors for Maywood village hall staff functions, thereby relocating the village hall from the distant public works building on Madison Street into this more centrally located facility near downtown and the police station.
- Install partitions in the 1st floor Community Room to provide offices and conference room for development services department and code enforcement.
- Extend the existing elevator to the 3rd floor. Provide a vertical platform lift from 3rd to 4th floor for accessibility.
- Move the Community Room activities to the 3rd floor Auditorium. Provide a new kitchenette at 3rd floor for Community Room activities and staff use.
- Refinish the interior plaster walls and ceiling of the Auditorium by patching, scraping and repainting.
- Remove the small dressing rooms on the east side of the Auditorium to provide a pre-function area for the Auditorium.
- Install new oak flooring at the side rooms adjacent to the Auditorium.
- Construct new toilet rooms on the 3rd and 4th floors.
- Install new seating in the Auditorium balcony.
- Provide two new rooftop HVAC units on the roof link between the Temple and Gymnasium for heating and cooling the spaces on the 3rd and 4th floors.
Masonic Temple space vs. 40 Madison space (Heitzman info)
Village Hall functional area at Public Works Building = 5,721 sf
Village Hall functional area at Masonic Temple Building = 6,337 sf
Total spaces provided at the Public Works Building = 54
Total spaces provided at Masonic Temple Building = 50 VFP
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