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Avalon New House in Price quickly taking shape

Workers framing at the New House. Many new features have been added to the structure including handicap access, better drainage and updated utilities. The LaPorte Group began construction on the building in late May.

Sun Advocate reporter

The New House hotel renovation in Price has come a long way since its beginning last May. While it is still an ongoing project, progress is on schedule. According to Scott Critchett, project supervisor, construction has been moving along smoothly, although a few surprises have been discovered.

"It was obvious that the top floor was an addition," said Critchett, while walking around the job site. "You can still see where the original skylights were in the floor. I don't know when they were added on, but it wasn't always a three story building."

At first, the building was in rough shape, after being abandoned for nearly 40 years. The roof was decrepit and many structural components, such as load-bearing beams and brick walls, were ready to fall down. However, almost six months into the project, the crews have redone some of the walls and added many new beams.

"We've been replacing any bricks that could be taken out by hand," said Critchett.

While most of the wooden frames inside the building have been replaced, the new ones are self-supporting. They provide additional support to the original structures that are still in place.

On the roof, a new drainage system has been installed. It can handle at least twice as much water as the original one. Although bricks are currently scattered on the roof, a solar voltaic system will be installed towards the project's completion.

"It's been a great job so far. If it wasn't for these two projects, a lot of the guys here would be out of work," said Critchett, looking over the roof.

Some finishing details of the final New House have yet to be decided. One involves a flag pole on the roof that Mayor Joe Piccolo expressed support for. Other items, such as exterior paint and bricks, will be decided later. The building's exterior will likely look similar to its current appearance.

Although pigeons that once made a permanent home on the New House have left for neighboring buildings, they will not be able to return because the building will be sealed and the roof spiked.

The Avalon house is a project of the LaPorte Group from Salt Lake City, which is also remodeling the former Golden Rule Mission in Helper. The building in Price is set to be finished as early as this year, but the Helper project is undergoing more extensive work, which should also be complete within a year. Once complete the two buildings will serve the community with low- cost housing, which has been lacking since the mission in Helper closed.

Critchett, who is supervising work on both buildings, indicated that, aside from the satisfaction of renovating the historic sites, he is looking forward to the opening ceremonies which will hopefully be held later this year.

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