Renovations to Tuttle house on the horizon

Renovations to the Tuttle house on Church Street in Naugatuck are set to begin this winter. The house will be the new home of the Naugatuck Historical Society. -FILE PHOTO

Renovations to the Tuttle house on Church Street in Naugatuck are set to begin this winter. The house will be the new home of the Naugatuck Historical Society. -FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — Renovations on the historic Tuttle house will begin this winter and the Naugatuck Historical Society hopes to move into its new home in early summer.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses last week approved a bid for $877,000 for the first phase of renovations, which include replacing the roof and updating the interior of the building to comply with fire codes.

The board also applied for a $43,000 historical grant for slate shingles for the roof rather than architectural tiles. A. Secondino & Son of Branford will begin work on the former Board of Education offices at 380 Church St. sometime in January, according to Deputy Mayor Robert Neth. The project will take three to six months, depending on weather, he said.

If the borough doesn’t win the grant, it could proceed with asphalt singles, according to Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess, or the town may spring for the slate shingles on its own.

“It won’t look horrible, but we’re trying to make it look like it originally did,” Historical Society President Ken Hanks said.

A slate roof would have a 100-year life span compared to the architectural tiles, which would last 40 to 50 years, Hanks said.

Hess said the second lowest bidder asked $265,000 for slate shingles.

“We think is a great deal,” Hess said.

The historical society has been operating out of a small storefront at 171 Church St. since May, after its former home — the former train station on Water Street — was sold. The former train station is being renovated as a restaurant.

Although the society is only open on Saturdays now, Hanks said the storefront display has been getting more foot traffic since it’s right downtown.

The first phase of renovations to the Tuttle house will allow the society to occupy the first floor, which is smaller than the train station, but larger than the Church Street storefront.

“Once the project is done, it will be more space. It will also be more usable as a museum,” Hanks said.

Hanks said the society will be able to set up different displays in each room.

“The house itself will be an attraction, in addition to the museum,” Hanks said.

A second phase of renovations will open up the second floor once fire code improvements required due to the change of use are completed.

The borough has a $750,000 state grant to pay for most of the project. There are also $285,000 in additional improvements, including the slate roof upgrade, which will be paid for out of the five year capital plan, Hess said.