The Canal Winchester Times

Building Doctors ready with free advice for owners of older buildings

Advance registration needed for March 14-15 program in Groveport

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The Groveport Heritage Society is teaming up with the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office to offer a two-day Building Doctors program.

It's aimed at teaching owners of older buildings how to recognize and solve common problems in the course of maintaining them. Advice about repairs and improvements is also offered.

The two-part program will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 14, at Town Hall, 648 Main St., with an informational, two-hour seminar that will cover how to care for older buildings and how to deal with common problems such as peeling paint, failing plaster, wet basements, masonry issues, window repairs and damaged wood.

Then, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 15, Building Doctors Judith Kitchen and Mariangela Pfister will be available to visit pre-1955 buildings within a 5-mile radius of Groveport, advising the owners on specific technical or design problems.

Kitchen earned degrees in architecture and architectural history and leads the technical preservation services department of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. Pfister manages the Building Doctors program; she earned a master's degree in history.

"We feel the program is a valuable learning tool for owners of old properties, whether they're residential, commercial, government or religious, etc., on how to sensitively maintain and preserve them," Pfister said.

"This is a place that older-building owners may turn for unbiased advice that is firmly grounded in the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation -- the national standard."

While the program is free and available to residents within a 5-mile radius, the city asks that participants register by calling 800-499-2470 or visiting www.building-doctor.org.

"Usually, we have room at the Thursday night seminar for walk-ins to schedule site visits, but right now, it looks like the visits will fill up in advance," Pfister said. "We'll visit a maximum of 10 properties. If there's a no-show at the seminar, then they may have a chance -- but I can't guarantee it."

Pfister said Groveport, and particularly Heritage Society President Carla Cramer, have been great partners in this work.

Cramer said she's very excited to host the program.

"We know there are many residents who own older homes and struggle with the maintenance and renovation of them," she said.

"We are pleased to be able to provide experts in the area who can provide answers and assistance, free of charge, to help our local residents with their building issues."

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