Exterior stabilization is the first priority as construction begins at Alumni House. Masonry experts from Liszt Historical Restoration, an Essex Junction firm that has completed work on buildings at Middlebury College and the Vermont State House, have been enlisted to replace the degrading mortar on the outside of the building.
Tom Corr '04 and Luke Harmon '08 and a 2011 graduate of UVM's Historic Preservation Program, are current Liszt employees assigned to this signature project. Along with their team, Tom and Luke have been literally chipping away at the old mortar, replacing it all with a raised bead of lime putty that has been carefully matched to original mortar samples from 61 Summit. This historically accurate mortar, the same substance used in architectural projects from the Middle Ages through the Industrial Revolution, has a natural flexibility, which minimizes cracking.
Both Tom and Luke feel fortunate to be able to continue in the long line of artisans who have painstakingly labored on this historic structure. Luke actually came onto the project directly following employment at Gettysburg National Military Park, where he restored metalwork and pedestals on more than 1,200 monuments at the historic site. In speaking about Alumni House, Luke summed up, half-smiling, "I don't mean to wax poetic, but it's really an honor to be able to restore this place to its original grandeur." In addition to the mortar, Liszt will be restoring masonry in the porte-cochère as well as rehabilitating damaged buttresses.