In December, 2004, the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum was awarded a grant from the State Historical Fund for $28,440, which they matched with an additional $9,480. The grant paid to complete a Historic Structure Assessment of the El Paso County Courthouse, which houses the museum.
The project represented the first, careful step in a long-term, multi-year restoration project. But, before restoration work could begin on such a large and complex building, with so many irreplaceable architectural details, preservationists needed a full architectural and engineering understanding of the building’s current conditions. Forging ahead with preservation treatments without understanding the building’s materials, construction, and systems, might have caused both irreparable damage and significant additional costs later.
It was agreed that investing $37,920 in planning and investigation would pay off in the long-term. The Historic Structure Assessment project, in addition to providing a physical understanding of the building’s conditions and needs, provided a basis for the group to estimate a budget for different phases of the restoration. Knowledge of the ballpark costs is critical when preparing budget requests and planning fundraising campaigns.