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Finishing the job

NL Council approves Shive-Hattery contract to finish Ranshaw House restoration
The historic Ranshaw House, located along Community Drive just north of the recreation center, has stood in North Liberty since 1908. When built, it was a showcase of the latest technology fused with ornamental esthetics. Restoration of the house began several years ago and will be completed as the North Liberty City Council approved a contract with Shive-Hattery for design, bidding and construction services. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– “We’re at a point where we need to get it finished up and usable,” North Liberty City Administrator Ryan Heiar told city council members about the historic Ranshaw House.
Heiar introduced a proposal from Shive-Hattery to finish the rehabilitation of the house during a Tuesday, May 26, council meeting.
Resolution No. 2020-48, which passed on a 5-0 vote, authorized Shive-Hattery to proceed with design, bidding and construction services at a lump sum fee of $48,000 for Phase 2 of the Ranshaw House Restoration. In a memo to the council, Heiar included a detailed proposal from Shive-Hattery, including interior, exterior, electrical and site work (including paving a small parking lot). Once completed, the renovations make the house usable for a variety of events, meetings and social services programming.
The city purchased the house, built in 1908, in 2004, initially planning to demolish it in order to expand parking for the recreation center.
“Residents convinced the city to save it and, since that time, we’ve been incrementally investing money into the facility to try and rehab it,” he said. “It seems to be a win-win saving a facility, but also making it usable.”
Heiar pointed out the city has $160,000 set aside currently, but would need to find additional surplus funds or borrow money to the tune of $220,000 (approximately) to meet the $400,000 estimated project cost.
Iowa City builder-architect Bernard Alfred Wickham constructed the home in a late Queen Anne Victorian style with Colonial Revival details, and included the latest (for the time) features including plumbing for hot and cold water pumped by a gasoline engine, gasoline-powered electric lighting, a furnace, and even a dumbwaiter. In addition, Wickham incorporated custom woodwork and ornamental glass making the house a standout showplace. It originally sat on a 10-acre farmstead on the outskirts of town.
The Ranshaw House was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.