When Smet Construction Services was asked to jump through hoops to perserve the old Milwaukee Road Train Station, the only answer we gave was: “How high?” Little did we know at the time how important and significant this project was to downtown Green Bay, which was just beginning in 2010 to transform its downtown. One of Green Bay’s goals was to mix preservation of older buildings with adaptive renovated uses along with newer construction projects. If there ever was a building that should be preserved and saved for future generations, this was it — a 100-plus-year-old train station that also served as a former Chamber of Commerce building!
During this historic renovation, the past was correctly preserved while modernizing the builing and making it usable in today’s world. Outdated office space with a chopped-up layout became a unified space that is now free-flowing and easily accessible. The first and second floors were united with a breath-taking glass staircase with custom railings that created an open and airy feeling and opened up a visual corridor to see the wonderful details in the original brickwork. It completely transformed the building into a modernized office space celebrating both old and new architectural features.
The restoration process involved sand-blasting, tuck-pointing and reinforcing the original brickwork in specific places. We were able to reclaim the wood, ceilings, and structural wooden beams. New heating vents and mechanical systems were added. Electrical and plumbing fixtures were updated. New exterior windows were changed out to reflect the retro past yet utilize today’s energy efficiencies. Another unique architectural feature created transparancy by using large glass interior walls in the new conference rooms. The end result fit the modern technological environment the customer needed to represent its business yet Smet Construction Services successfully maintained the historical integrity of this landmark building as part of an overall renovation effort befitting what’s underway in downtown Green Bay.
The next time you’d like to restore an historical landmark, call on Smet Construction Services to help you do it with style and consideration of the original structure.