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Capitol Hill Ward building, Salt Lake City

In our earthquake-prone state, improving seismic safety is an important part of almost every major historic building renovation. The renovation of Salt Lake City's Capitol Hill Ward introduced an exciting new seismic upgrade technology to Utah. Used in California since the mid-1980s, the center core technique allows walls to be reinforced without the disruption of historic interior finishes common to other seismic upgrade strategies.

Center core technology involves drilling very accurate holes through a building's walls from the roof into the foundation. Then, reinforced steel rods are inserted into the cores and the holes are filled with grout. Because it can be much less expensive than the common technique of applying gunnite to strengthen interior walls, center core technology has the potential for reducing the cost of retrofitting many historic Utah buildings.

In addition to this innovative approach to seismic safety, the Capitol Hill Ward project included careful restoration of the building's original interior finishes. For example, the delicately colored crown moldings and Gothic-arched windows in the 1928 chapel were carefully cleaned and repaired. On the exterior, the building's distinctive multi-colored shingle roof was leaking and had faded with time. New rubber shingles were custom-designed to match the originals.

This innovative project not only insures the future of a Capitol Hill landmark but also represents a successful model for addressing the seismic issues which face many of Utah's treasured historic buildings.