A state agency that helped fund renovations to a local nonprofit organization held its latest meeting there last week.
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission normally holds its monthly meetings at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. However, it also has three special meetings yearly that can be anywhere in the state to show its members examples of their work. So, on Dec. 5, the OFCC met in Delaware at The Barn at Stratford, 2690 Stratford Road.
“This is a great project for us to highlight,” said OFCC Chair Kimberly Murnieks.
“Every one of these projects has a story,” said Cheryl J. Lyman, OFCC executive director.
This spring, the Delaware County Historical Society completed the first phase of a restoration project at The Barn. Then-state Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) helped DCHS to receive a $250,000 grant. The grant helped restore The Barn to its prior appearance, including replacing more recent additions such as a freight elevator and steel support beams. Major timber beams, joists, and support columns were reinstalled, while reinforcing tension rods were installed and concrete footings were poured. JCM Timberworks, of Killbuck, did the work from January to March, and The Barn was closed to events.
DCHS volunteer Connie Hoffman said the restoration resulted in raising the ceiling four to six inches.
“The money you gave us has made a big difference,” Hoffman said.
A brief film called “If This Barn Could Talk” was shown to the attendees. It gave an overview of The Barn, built by George Bieber in 1848. It stated The Barn was a stop on the Underground Railroad and once housed 75 draft horses in its stables. In more recent years, it was the home of Garth’s Auction House and was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1991. Now maintained by DCHS, the lower floor can be reserved for special events such as corporate meetings and wedding receptions. It holds up to 175 people.
DCHS President Jack Hilborn thanked the OFCC for its help, and he said the society would apply again for assistance with The Barn’s roof.
OFCC spokesman J.C. Benton said the commission was formed in 1997. It has helped to rebuild Ohio school districts by providing funds to demolish old schools, design and build new schools, and provide features such as storm shelters for the buildings. It also provides local match grants to nonprofit cultural facilities such as the The Arts Castle, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and The Strand Theatre in Delaware County, along with the Palace Theatre in Columbus. Projects have been completed in all 88 of Ohio’s counties.
During the meeting, OFCC discussed projects at the Harding Presidential Center, as well as to the Sandusky and Tiffin school districts.
“On average, OFCC completes construction on a school every 6.6 days,” Benton said. To date, $12.3 billion has been invested in schools. “The OFCC is contributing $2.2 billion for more than 330 current projects, with a direct creation of 36,000 jobs to support Ohio’s economy. Just this year alone, more than 1,300 Ohio companies have been doing work on our behalf. That means thousands of jobs.”
For more information, visit barnatstratford.org, delawareohiohistory.org and ofcc.ohio.gov.
Joshua Keeran contributed to this story. Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.