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Shore thing: Lake Geneva Highlands Shore Building

Lake Geneva restoration project presented several challenges

Lake Geneva Highlands Shore Building

Photos courtesy of Kehoe-Henry & Associates Inc.

If restoring a 50-year-old building can create waves, try tackling a project on a lake.

When Kehoe-Henry & Associates Inc., Elkhorn, began evaluating the restoration of the Lake Geneva Highlands Shore Building, which serves subdivision residents on the southern shore of Lake Geneva, they knew they had their work cut out for them.

“There was a lot going on with the building since it really took a beating from lake ice pressure and waves,” said William Henry, a principal with Kehoe-Henry. “Add in the fact it was so close to the water and it was definitely a challenge.”

Since the two-story building was on the shoreline, strict rules governed what could be done.

“It was all about reconstructing what was already there since under current shoreline rules, a building here wouldn’t be allowed,” Henry said. “There was even discussion about razing the building.”

But just when Henry thought everything was settled with the design, a portion of the shore’s steep slope failed in 2008 due to heavy rains.

“We had to start over again and costs went up,” he said, “but fortunately the homeowners voted to increase the budget or else the project would not have moved ahead.”

Mike Brenner, leader of the Lake Geneva Highlands’ homeowners group, said the project was complicated, but well worth the effort.

“When we saw the cost of tearing it down and having nothing, and paying a little bit more and getting this, I am pleased the homeowners decided to increase the budget,” he said. “It’s a beautiful facility and it’s something that the almost 90 homeowners in the Highlands can enjoy.”

With an increased budget, the rotted timber retaining walls were replaced with engineered block units, and the terraces between each wall were extensively landscaped. Rules required that the observation deck on the upper level had to be preserved during construction, so a post and beam system was used to support it, Henry said. The storage locker partitions on the shore level then were “hung” from the structure so that any ground movement caused by the lake would not damage the new walls.

“It was a challenging project,” Henry said, “but now the residents have a beautiful place right on the lake.”

— MaryBeth Matzek

Location: Lake Geneva

Submitting company: Kehoe-Henry and Associates Inc., Elkhorn

General Contractor: Lawton Builders & Molders LLC, Whitewater

Architect: Kehoe-Henry and Associates

Engineer: Kehoe-Henry and Associates

Owner: Lake Geneva Highlands Co-Operative, Lake Geneva

Project size: 950 square feet

Project cost: $182,300

Start date: October 2009

Completion date: April 2010

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