Boldt: Wins award for critical work on Grand Opera House, continues streak

Patrick Casey

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Mary Schmidt

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AGC of Wisconsin recognizes unique restoration project

The Boldt Company will receive a 2011 Build Wisconsin award for the ninth consecutive year from the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Wisconsin. The award is for Boldt’s innovative restoration of the Grand Opera House—a project that almost didn’t happen.

A routine project to add a new fire sprinkler led to the discovery that the 125-year-old Oshkosh building’s roof trusses and joists were failing, causing city officials to close the theater.

Boldt was chosen for the repair effort because of its experience in steel fabrication as well as historic building restoration. The theater is one of the few Wisconsin buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, so Boldt worked closely with the Wisconsin Historical Society during the project to ensure the building’s Victorian design and other historical properties were maintained.

Many challenges arose during the project, often dealing with updating the 19th century facility without changing its appearance—the crew had to match current materials and techniques with those that hadn’t been used in over 100 years. Included in the major renovations Boldt made to the theater were repairing the sagging joists and the plaster ceiling itself.

Repairs were made from the inside, which required crews to remove the decorative ceiling and work on an elevated platform 35 feet in the air. Crews also had to repair and restore the brick-bearing walls, which were originally built in 1883 with a now outdated process. To match the original construction, the Boldt team sent a sample of the original mortar to a laboratory for analysis. Based on the result, the team found a current product to match the historic integrity of the building.

“An intense attention to detail, care for the building and impeccable judgment by every member of our team was crucial to this project’s success,” said project manager Reed Rodenkirch. “Working on the Grand Opera House was an honor and we’re proud to have contributed to its rich history.”

The award will be presented at the AGC of Wisconsin’s annual awards banquet, which will be held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison, WI on December 1, 2011. Boldt has received a Wisconsin Build award each year since the award’s inception in 2003. Boldt’s work on the Grand Opera House has also received a Project of The Year award from Midwest Construction magazine and was named one of 2010’s top projects by The Daily Reporter.