October 21, 2021

New windows OK’d for CFD

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Cortland firefighter Jordan Zelsnack shovels snow Saturday in front of the Cortland Fire Department’s Court Street station. The city last week agreed on entering into a contract to repair and replace windows at the station.

Work to repair and replace windows at the Cortland Fire Department’s station on Court Street could start in February after the Cortland Common Council agreed last week to enter into a contract worth more than $500,000.

The contract, worth $589,800, was agreed to be entered into with Window Specialist Inc., a Lancaster based company that provides window installation and services for historic preservation purposes, among others.

Fire Chief Wayne Friedman said once paperwork is filed, he expects work can begin as soon as the middle of February.

The department has long been working to fix and replace windows, Friedman said.

In 2016, the department submitted an application for a Historic Preservation grant from the state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Department.

A year later, the department received a grant for $178,305.

The department received further funding in 2019 to bring total grant funding for the project to $621,000, leaving room for additional costs during repair, Friedman said.

The station was built in 1914, according to the National Register of Historic Places.

It was added to the register in 1974. The building was noted for its striking interior and exterior architectural differences.

“Architecturally, the structure exhibits an exterior elaboration and concern with detail not found in such functional buildings of a later period,” according to the Statement of Significance in the building’s submission form to the register. “The elegant exterior treatment is also in sharp contrast to the plain and functional interiors, suggesting that by 1914 simplicity and thrift had become the interior style while elegant facades were still acceptable and desirable for public buildings.”

The windows are all original, Friedman said. While they fit the building’s character, degradation has taken its toll on the windows as some have cracks and gaps.

“They haven’t been maintained as they should,” he said.

Being a registered national historic site, Friedman has applauded the city’s efforts to help facilitate funding for preservation.

“To preserve it (the station) is very important,” he said. “The city is committed to do that.”

Preservation work was done around 2015 to fill and fix holes in the station’s roof, Friedman said.

The department will look at other work it can improve in the station, including its electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The key, though, will be to maintain a balance between keeping the building modern while preserving its historic character.

Friedman said he was confident in the city’s ability to undertake this task.

“As long as the city has possession of the building, they’re going to try to preserve it,” he said.