ACRA Member Wins Preservation Merit Award

11/01/2019 4:01 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

Charissa Durst of ACRA member firm Hardlines Design Company has won a 2019 Preservation Merit Award from the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office. The details are included in the press release below, and congratulations to Charissa!

The State Historic Preservation Office has recognized the Woodward Opera House with a 2019 Preservation Merit Award.

State Historic Preservation Officer Burt Logan presented the award to Charissa Durst, president and owner of Hardlines Design Company, as well as Woodward Development Corporation, the City of Mount Vernon, Korda/Nemeth Engineering Inc., and Modern Builders for the Woodward Opera House rehabilitation project. Four other groups also earned Preservation Merit awards and two groups won honors for Public Education and Awareness at the awards ceremony, which took place during a luncheon at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.

“This project, while one of the most challenging ones we have ever been a part of, has also been one of the most fulfilling ones,” said Durst. “We have devoted two decades of our lives to restoring this historic place, and it has been very satisfying to see the Knox Partnership for Art & Culture’s vision and dedication be recognized with this statewide honor.”

The Preservation Merit Award is given to projects for outstanding preservation of Ohio’s prehistory, history, architecture or culture, including the preservation and restoration of historic buildings. After a 20-year-long effort to rehabilitate the opera house, it opened to the public in January 2019 with a public performance.

The restoration of the 1850s-era opera house at 107 S. Main Street was a dream of the Mount Vernon community. The magnificent red-brick building was conceived and constructed by Ebenezer Woodward, who intended it to symbolize commerce. Over the years, it housed movie theaters, commercial and office spaces, gymnasiums, retail spaces and more before eventually falling into disrepair. The Woodward Opera House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 10, 1975.

The initial renovation actually began in 1994, and Hardlines Design Company became involved in 2001. However, the project took longer than originally planned because of funding issues and the logistical challenges of integrating an 1850s theater building with the adaptive reuse of an adjacent building.

Durst led the multi-phase project to restore the building to showcase its historical significance. The project included adding a rear addition and work on the adjacent building. Throughout the project, Hardlines Design Company staged construction to interfere as little as possible with adjacent shop owners and their customers.

Hardlines Design Company has worked on many notable projects across the country, including many in central Ohio, such as the historic Lincoln Theatre in the King-Lincoln district, and a $10 million rehabilitation of Stewart Elementary School in the German Village neighborhood.

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