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Bush Tabernacle Repair Cost Climb

Contractors working to replace the floor at the Bush Tabernacle have found significant damage under the boards. [Town of Purcellville]

Like many historic property renovations, unwelcome surprises are often found behind the walls—or, in the case of Purcellville’s Bush Tabernacle, under the floorboards.

The town is in the process of replacing the floor of the skating rink. The long-planned repair is envisioned as a $300,000 project in Capital Improvement Plan and comes with a Dec. 1 deadline, so that the historic building will be re-opened in time for the town’s holiday events.

But as contractor began the work of pulling up the floor, believed to have been installed more than 80 years ago, significant insect damage and rot was discovered.

The Town Council toured the building last week and then debated how to address additional work that will be needed. The staff sought an $80,000 increase to the contract to complete the repairs. 

Council members worried that it was premature to commit to a price since only half the floor had been pulled up. Some suggested allocating only the $10,000 that would be needed to finish the floor removal so that a full damage assessment could be made and then decide how much more money will be needed.

But the staff worried that approach would jeopardize the push to reopen the building by December.

Town Manager David Mekarski then suggested a $130,000 appropriation to provide the $80,000 the staff believes is needed to complete the work along with a $50,000 “management contingency” to be available to keep the project going if the cost is higher. The money would come from the Parks and Recreation reserve fund.

The council voted unanimously to allocate the $80,000 originally requested.