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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Historic Renovation


May is National Historic Preservation Month, a time when we recognize the beautiful buildings and homes that have been preserved, restored and renovated by those professionals and homeowners who care deeply about their original character. Historic projects are often truly unique, and the Marvin Windows and Doors team recently visited one for a behind-the-scenes look.

Scoville Memorial Library at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. was built in 1896. At 120-years-old, it was high time for this grande dame to receive a makeover. Although it once served as the college’s original library, it was replaced in the 50s with the construction of a new, more modern library. After its renovation, the Scoville building will serve as a welcome center for campus visitors, especially prospective students.

A Gothic-style building made from reddish stone, Scoville Memorial Library is the very definition of a historic building deserving a renovation. At a recent pre-construction meeting, all professionals involved in this project (like the builder, architect, and contractors) gathered to review the schedule and expectations for the project. Here are a few things we learned:

  • Building project schedules are detailed. From when the windows are installed to when the drywall is hung, builders schedule down to the day so their clients have a clear end date in sight.
  • Good builders care about everything. Beyond the materials they use, builders keep the image they and their teams represent to their clients top of mind. Where breaks should be taken and how garbage should be disposed of are just as important as the actual building process.
  • Historic renovation is not easy. There are permits to consider, things that can and can’t be done – and on a college campus, tricky scheduling to be mindful of events such as Commencement and Homecoming.
  • A good builder cares deeply about their project. Having seen the benefits firsthand, don’t settle for any less.

    Here are a few “before” shots of Scoville Memorial Library. This historic building is a diamond in the rough now, and we look forward to checking in on its progress in the coming months.