The Governor’s Mansion on Mountain Street is the latest of Nevada’s most important and historic buildings to get a facelift.
Passersby also have noticed a lot of work on the exterior of the mansion this summer as crews stripped away old paint and began repairing and restoring the columns, facia and other exterior woodwork of the 106-year-old Georgian style structure.
Deputy Public Works Administrator Chris Chimits said some of the columns, which are hollow and built out of staves much like a wooden barrel, have been in bad shape.
“A lot of them were severely cracked,” Chimits said. “You could stick your fingers in some of those cracks.”
Crews also are doing a lot of work on the Mansion’s rain gutters.
Chimits said to do the work, he, the architect and Bison Construction had to work closely with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) because the Mansion is listed on both state and federal historic registries.
“We have to do everything possible to restore, to keep the original material in place,” he said.
But Oxoby said SHPO has been helpful because it was involved from the start of the restoration project.
He said as part of the effort to be historically faithful, the contractor removed a number of paint layers to get down to the original, then had that color matched. Painters are now applying that Special Malibu Beige paint — 320 gallons of it altogether — to the house.
But, Chimits said, SHPO doesn’t want the Mansion to look “new.” That would reduce some of its historic appeal.
Chimits said not just the Governor’s Mansion itself but the other four structures on the property are getting the same treatment including a new coat of paint. That includes the North Hall, used for numerous different meetings and events, the cook’s cottage, storage shed and the outdoor pavilion.
Chimits said there is a lot of work to do because the Mansion and surrounding complex “hasn’t had a significant amount of (exterior) maintenance in 22 years.
He and Public Works Manager Gus Nuñez both said the Mansion is one of a number of maintenance projects that got put off during the recession the state is now able to take care of.
“We’re catching up,” Chimits said.
The inside was redone during the Guinn administration after First Lady Dema Guinn led a drive to raise the necessary money from private sources.
A total of $609,480 was approved for Mansion maintenance and restoration in the 2013 Legislature.
Bison Construction is handling the exterior repairs and maintenance under a $324,000 contract Chimits said is to be finished before Nov. 3.
He and Oxoby said work on the front of the Mansion is first because Gov. Brian Sandoval and First Lady Kathleen Sandoval want to start putting up the traditional Halloween decorations in the front area in the first week of October. Oxoby said the front of the Mansion will be done by the Oct. 1.
“At this point, we’re under budget and ahead of schedule,” said Chimits.
Other projects include a new drain installed at the rear of the Mansion; also IT experts are nearly finished installing and adjusting a new security system with more and much higher definition cameras.
Plans call for some work on the pavilion itself and on the ADA access ramp at the side of the mansion. Windows at the rear of the mansion also need some work as do windows in the North Hall.
Those and other projects will be taken care of with the remaining funding.
The mansion was built in 1908 at a cost of $22,700 on land donated by Mrs. T.B. Rickey for just $10. It was first occupied by acting Gov. Denver Dickerson and his family in July 1909.