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History in the remaking

A worker chips off loose and flaky paint from the structure of the second penthouse in preperation for its demolition as Atascadero's historic City Administration building undergoes restoration.
A worker chips off loose and flaky paint from the structure of the second penthouse in preperation for its demolition as Atascadero's historic City Administration building undergoes restoration. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

From the outside, it may appear that little restoration work has been completed on Atascadero’s historic City Administration Building since last fall, when four deodar cedars and one Italian cypress were removed.

But a flurry of work has been done on the inside of the earthquake-damaged building.

The basement floor and walls have already been removed. Crews spent the end of April prepping the upper rotunda spaces, removing any asbestos and clearing out the interior.

But this week, something very visual is happening.

Crews are using forklifts to remove a kitchen, penthouse and storage room from the upper dome.

It’s touted as one of the most visual segments during the three-phase construction project slated to end by Atascadero’s centennial in 2013.

“It’s not a wrecking ball, but it’s basically taking them out wall-by-wall and piece by piece,” construction manager Anthony Verdi said.

The clubhouse was removed last week.

The city chose to rebuild the clubhouse, storage and kitchen spaces but not the penthouse. The city previously said the move saves about $1 million.

The kitchen will be rebuilt into a smaller kitchen, restrooms and storage area.

The four-story, 1917 landmark most recently housed city offices, City Council chambers and the Atascadero Historical Society museum before it closed after the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake.

It has a rich history of various uses dating from the early 1900s, including as a public library, post office, civic center and three private schools.

The penthouse was added in 1928 when the administration building was sold and became Moran Junior College.

Historic items

Here’s a look at items that will be returned to the building after renovation:

Overhead pot rack

Large range hood

Double oven and griddle

Radiators

Light sconces

Wooden bookshelf

Pedestal sink

Bathroom cabinets

Glass door refrigerator

Freezer doors

Magic Chef brand range

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