Cumberland County’s building and grounds committee voted 6-3 to move forward with a renovation project on the county Archives and Family Heritage Center building at a significantly reduced cost.

Conrad Welch, county building maintenance supervisor, estimated the supplies for the renovation of the front portion of the building would be $40,000.

Rebecca Stone, 3rd District commissioner, said she met with Welch, Cliff Wightman of Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Joyce Rorabaugh, county archivist, and Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster to discuss the project and see who could do what work.

“We also met with Kim Chamberlin. We hired him because he’s done this before and he’s using the state standards for guidelines,” Stone said.

Wendell Wilson, 6th District commissioner and building and grounds committee chairman, said, “I received an email from Cliff (Wightman) and he said ‘we are on board with everything.’ They would tear the carpet out, replace it. Do the ceilings, HVAC, bell tower updates. And replacing metal on the steeple area of the roof.”

Welch said the materials for the renovation would include the new windows, steeple supplies, new vents, ceiling, lighting in the basement and painting the floor in the basement.

Chamberlin, architect with Upland Design Group, said, “It’s OK if you’re keeping the basement the same for storage. If not and were going to do the meeting rooms down there it would need to be different. Keeping it as storage would be a tremendous savings.”

The previously proposed renovation of the front portion of the building included all of the work being bid out and contracted out instead of TCAT students and county employees doing the work. 

Chamberlin added with TCAT students and county employees doing the work it will save a significant amount on labor costs.

Stone explained after the meeting it was determined that TCAT would be in charge of the interior remodeling work including dropped ceilings, wallpaper removal and refinishing, removing carpet, assessing and repairing any damaged areas, adding keyed locks to individual doors, updating HVAC system, updating and repairing all rooms downstairs, providing a cost estimate for removal of baptistry upstairs and assist Welch’s department as needed on quotes for work.

Welch would assume responsibility for quotes on exterior work, including window replacement, steeple and ridge line repairs, repairing gutter and facia, downspouts and piping, drainage on west side of facility including working with city of Crossville and supply estimates.

Stone said Chamberlin would review and approve the quotes as part of the grant process.

Kyle Davis, 2nd District commissioner, asked, “If we’re doing work on the steeple area, why keep it? Why not take it out and replace it with a straight roof?”

“It’s a big part of the architecture. If we take it out and go through the expense to rebuild it, I’m pretty sure you would have more money into it doing it that way,” Chamberlin said.

Carl MacLeod, 9th District commissioner, said, “We have another building that needs work and money put into it where people can’t work.”

He was referring to a county road department building that needs repairs.

Stone replied, “This is self-funded through the fees that are collected from records that are generated.”

Wilson said, “The county has a pipeline of funding that’s coming in at around $80,000 to $90,000 per year.”

Stone reminded the committee the county is applying for a Tennessee State Library and Archives Grant for construction and improvements to the county’s Archives and Family Heritage Center and the revenue that’s generated from the fees collected is earmarked for that facility and can only be used there.

“I think we ought to put in everything we can on the grant request up to $200,000. We already have the $100,000 to match the grant that covers up to $100,000,” Stone said.

Stone said she wanted to make it clear that the county is not using any property tax dollars on the archives facility and that the funding is coming from the fees being collected on public records being generated by the county that are required by the state to be stored.

Stone then moved to go forward with the renovation work on the front portion of the building at the archives facility for phase one and get a proposal for the back half.

Davis supported the motion.

It was approved in a 6-3 vote.

Voting in favor of moving forward were Sue York, 1st District; Davis; Stone; David Gibson, 4th District; Jack Davis, 5th District; and Wilson.

Jerry Cooper, 7th District; Jim Blalock, 8th District; and MacLeod voted no.

The reduced renovation project will also require Cumberland County Commission approval before it can move forward.

Gary Nelson may be reached at

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