Work crews are not even one month into the $6.1 million Barrington White House renovation project, but the 116-year-old building has already undergone a dramatic change.
Much of the southwest portion of the building at 145 W. Main St. has been removed, including sections from all three floors; the front porch is unrecognizable, apart from some of the masonry that is still standing; and the grounds and trees around the building have been removed and replaced with dirt and large construction equipment.
"It's strange to see part of the building come off," Village President Karen Darch said. "But we know what's going to go there and replace it, and you can start to envision what it might actually look like when all is said and done."
Darch added that crews are working so quickly that on one of the first days of work, a concerned resident mistook the contractors for vandals and called the village to report someone was tearing up the White House.
While the heavy-equipment phase of the project is nearer its beginning, the check-writing portion is around the middle.
At Monday's village board meeting, Darch announced that $4.4 million of the $6.1 million project cost has been pledged by donors and acquired via grants.
Of that money, $700,000 has already been collected by the village. Darch said the disparity between the amount of money pledged and the amount actually handed over to the village is typical of donor-funded projects like this.
"These people are good for it," Darch said.
The board approved a $5.5 million loan from Barrington Bank & Trust to provide cash flow needed to complete the project by the village's goal of the summer of 2015, to coincide with the village's sesquicentennial events.
The repayment of the loan will be made entirely with funds donated to the White House project, Darch said.
She added that the loan agreement is very favorable to the village. According to the ordinance, the interest rate is 1.85 percent on outstanding principal.
Once complete, the first floor will retain its original configuration and serve as a gathering area for events or offer showrooms for artistic presentations. The second floor will house offices for local nonprofit agencies that will pay rent to the village.
The third floor will be converted to a ballroom -- its original use -- capable of hosting an event for 150 people.
Pepper Construction, headquartered in Barrington, will see the renovations through from start to finish.