The Evanston City Council is scheduled to approve a $1.07 million contract for roof and chimney repairs to the Noyes Cultural Arts Center Monday.

Plans for future use of the center have been up in the air for about two years, most recently leading to a heated discussion Monday before the Human Services Committee about whether the city should allow Piven Theatre Workshop to nearly triple its space in the building.

Those discussions were sparked in part by a shortage of city funds to properly maintain the building.

The new project will involve repairing the nine brick chimneys on the former elementary school building as well as replacing all of the roof and rebuilding wood soffits and the building’s gutters and downspouts.

It also will involve providing a new lightning protection system, rebuilding the basement stairs on the building’s south facade and repointing the interior of the one chimney that’s in use to vent the building’s heating system.

City staff is recommending postponing several other projects — including removing and replacing the bowing brick masonry wall and ramp on the west side of the building, tuckpointing all the exterior masonry, repairing cracks in the masonry facade and removing ivy from the buildings walls to extend the life of the brickwork.

Those projects would have added almost another $500,000 to the project’s cost.

The repair work is to be funding by a $750,000 state grant and city capital improvement program funds.

The low bidder on the project is Evanston-based G.A. Johnson & Son.

Top: Scaffolding around a Noyes Center entranceway to protect visitors from decaying roofing material falling from the roof while the building awaits repairs.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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