Discovery Station building experiencing structural problems

February 11, 2013|By DAN DEARTH |
  • The sidewalk on the Summit Avenue side of the Discovery Station along is closed due to some deterioration of the bulding's marble facade which fell on Sunday.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

The owner of the Discovery Station building on West Washington Street in Hagerstown said a subcontractor has been called to replace a large piece of marble that fell from the facade Sunday night.

Paul Crampton, owner of Paul Crampton Contractors, said he believed the marble could have loosened when freezing temperatures warmed up.

“We’re trying to get that fixed as soon as possible,” he said.

The piece that fell came from above a second-floor window on the Summit Avenue side of the building. Although the marble had been cleaned up by Monday morning, the sidewalk remained closed to pedestrians.
Discovery Station President and CEO Marie Byers said she was concerned that the marble could have seriously injured someone.

She said Discovery Station — a museum that promotes informal learning about science, technology and local history through exhibits and programs — might have to move because the building is showing its age.

The primary structure, which housed several banks in turn before it was converted into the Discovery Station, was built in 1911, according to online records from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Byers said the roof leaks in addition to the crumbling exterior.

“We have it dripping wet even on a sunny day,” she said.

Byers said Discovery Station pays $8,000 per month to rent the building, and an additional $2,000 in utilities.

She said the museum relies on donations, grants and volunteers to function.

The Discovery Station has been at its current site since 2005.

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