MTPR

Sperry Chalet Preservation Crew Begins Race Against Winter

Sep 25, 2017

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Stabilization efforts on the remains of a historic Montana dormitory that was severely damaged by an Aug. 31 wildfire are expected to begin next month.

Missoula-based DCI+BCE Engineers already has visited the Sperry Chalet hotel building and submitted its recommendations on what needs to be done to ensure the four stone walls don't collapse from this winter's wind and snow.

Outlying buildings including the kitchen, dining room and utility cabin survived the fire, while the interior floors and roof were completely burned out. That greatly destabilized the exterior rock walls built in 1914 by rock masons employed by the Great Northern Railroad, the Missoulian reported.

In order for the dormitory to be rebuilt, a park historic preservation crew will have to win the race against winter conditions to brace the walls with a series of large beams and plywood.

Materials are being gathered that will be used to stabilize the walls, Glacier National Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley said.

"We have to be able to protect those walls from both the wind and being pushed sideways by this winter's snowfall," Alley said. "October is our window for getting that work accomplished."

The interior floors and roof were completely burned out, which greatly destabilized the exterior rock walls built in 1914 by rock masons employed by the Great Northern Railroad.

Plans call for using more than 100 beams to brace the walls. Plywood and more beams will be used to provide strength to the gables and chimney of the structure. The materials list was being developed last week.

"All of this work right now is contingent on when we can get a helicopter to move the materials to the site," Alley said. "All of it needs to happen before we get significant snowfall."

So far, the park has received $18,500 from the park service's regional office to help pay for the stabilization. Much of the funding is expected to come from private donations collected by the Glacier National Park Conservancy. The conservancy has set a $90,000 fundraising goal to help pay for the stabilization, engineering assessment and materials needed to complete the project before winter. So far, those fundraising efforts have collected $58,445.
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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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