2022 ABC Keystone Excellence in Construction Merit Award Winner
The Witmer Group recently completed a year-long renovation and masonry restoration project at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. Being awarded the contract for this high-profile project was a privilege for the company and the craft people who work at The Witmer Group. It also presented exciting challenges due to the immensity and complexity of the project.
The Main Hall of the complex, which was built in 1930, was the main focus of the restoration. After 90 years of exposure to harsh weather conditions, settling, and expansion, the façade of the building was in serious need of maintenance and extensive restoration. Mortar joints in the brick were seriously decayed, and cracks had developed in some of the brick walls and limestone features allowing water to enter the building and hasten further deterioration. Flashing, designed to shed water from inside the walls, was either not sufficient to prevent water damage or was deteriorated and ineffective.
The work consisted of extensive repointing of mortar joints and removal and replacement of large sections of brickwork. Matching mortar and brick for replacement and repairs is always challenging, but it was successfully achieved by pre-construction mockups and testing. The brick that was removed was mostly salvaged and had the mortar removed for reuse in the repairs. Some of the large animal figures adorning upper portions of the façade were repaired, and some weighing thousands of pounds each were removed, repaired, and reset. Over 500 feet of large limestone coping stones were removed for installation of copper flashing, and then the pieces were reset in their original spots using a 200-ton crane for lifting. The seamless nature of the finished repairs testifies to the success of the Witmer crews.
In addition to the work at Main Hall, another large structure, Northwest Hall, had such a deteriorated exterior that complete removal of over 100,000 brick was required. After the demolition of these bricks, The Witmer Group performed extensive repairs of the backup block walls, and added waterproofing and new heavy-duty wall ties before laying back 100,000 new bricks to closely match the existing adjacent buildings.
The Waterproofing team also provided services for the Farm Show Complex:
Total: 16041 LF