Paint is being stripped from Elite Hall in Hyrum on Monday June 6, 2022.

HYRUM – Elite Hall in Hyrum is looking different as decades-old paint is being stripped and the original brick is coming back to life.

Richard Vickery makes sure the machine that keeps the hot water coming for the removal of paint on Elite Hall June 6, 2022.

The work started on June 1 and is expected to continue until August to complete, said Richard Vickery, one of the crew dispatched from Abstract Masonry Restoration out of Salt Lake.

“The work sucks,” he said. “But the finished product makes it all worth it.”

The company has made a practice of bringing things back to life for 33 years.

“We have been to Nantucket and spent three-and-a-half years on the St. Francis Cathedral in Salt Lake,” he said. “The secret formula to removing the paint is super-hot water.”

Abstract Masonry Restoration has two crews that clean the paint off of the buildings and they work eight days on and six days off. They have six crews that do the brick restoration work.

They have several places where they get their historic brick. The closest one is Ogden, Vickery said.

Built in 1915 Elite Hall and it’s spring-loaded floor still attracts people for dancing and other activities.

The historic building constructed in 1915 is having all the old, bluish paint removed from the exterior walls to expose the original brick.

The building is being restored to its natural color. Then the exposed bricks will be sealed to preserve it and keep moisture from ruining it.

The cost of the restoration is somewhere around $400,000 with money coming for RAPZ funds, Hyrum City money and donations.

Jami Van Huss, the Hyrum Museum director, said they were hoping to get going on the project in 2021, but because it is such historic masonry very few have historic masonry background. The city only had a couple of options.

Abstract Masonry Restoration is one of only a couple companies in the state that do this kind of work. It is not just regular masonry work, it’s historic masonry restoration.

Jamie Riecher from Abstract Masonry Restoration sprays a hot water sand solution to get the paint off Elite Hall so the building could be restored on June 7, 2022.

The walls can’t be sand blasted; the paint must be chemically stripped. There is a window of time when it is best to have the paint stripped because the weather can’t be too cold or too hot.

Hyrum City received 2019 RAPZ funding and were going to start in the spring of 2020, but because of COVID everything got put on hold.

The awning was removed because it is not accurate for the original Elite Hall.  The awning, however, will be preserved and relocated.

The paint removal should be finished by the patriotic exhibit for the community’s 4th of July celebrations.

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