Eliestoun Highest and Best Use Community Meeting Summary

Friends of Eliestoun convened a community meeting on November 23rd in Principia College’s dining room. All students, faculty, staff, and the public were invited to attend and participate. We heard a brief history of Eliestoun and met Jeff Clark and Jay Simon of Metropolitan Build, the St. Louis firm we are working with. We then broke out into sessions on specific Eliestoun topic areas: Income Generation, Estate Grounds, Residential Uses, and Place of Assembly. The whole meeting was recorded and can be found here. If you want just the summary of the meeting, beginning with the results of the breakout session, please go to this link. Parts of the recording may be difficult to hear because of the usual dining room noise.

There were about 50 attendees at the meeting, including a handful of students who came and went depending on their academic, athletic, and social schedules. Most participants were interested alumni and local adults involved in preservation.

Two more focus group meetings are scheduled for January of 2016, one in Elsah, and one in a location to be determined.

Friends of Eliestoun is on track to meet the upcoming milestones for Principia. The next includes a budget for preservation of the exterior and basic functions of Eliestoun by December 31, 2015.

In 2010, Principia’s Pastry Chef, David Wiseheart, made a to-scale gingerbread Eliestoun. Here is a photo of his work.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, you are always welcome to do this online or you may mail it to us at Friends of Eliestoun, PO Box 35, Elsah, IL 62028.

We are moving forward nicely and are looking forward to each progressive step to save Eliestoun.

Invitation to Community Meeting for Eliestoun

We are excited to invite you to discuss Eliestoun in a community meeting at Principia College on Monday, November 23, from 5:30-7:15 p.m. in the Dining Room.

The purpose of this meeting is to listen to you — students, faculty, staff, and other supporters in the community — to hear the highest and best proposed uses of Eliestoun. We welcome you and your ideas for the future of Eliestoun. The firm we’ve hired to assist with the drawings and Feasibility Study, Metropolitan Build of St. Louis, will be on hand to introduce themselves, to update us on progress with their efforts, and to introduce the evening’s discussion. If you would like to share your thoughts via email, we welcome your input. But if you attend the meeting, you will be able to hear first-hand the comments of others.

This meeting is a vital part of the Feasibility Study in progress — your ideas and enthusiasm are needed.

Hope to see you in the Principia College Dining Room at 5:30pm on Monday, November 23rd!

An Art Contest

Friends of Eliestoun is conducting an open art contest for an Eliestoun logo. Your design may be used on mugs, pencils, tee shirts, our letterhead, and anything else you can come up with!

Principia students from preschool to college, alumni, and friends in the community and around the world are welcome to submit entries.  So spread the word to everyone you know.  You may submit as many entries as you like.

Submissions should be received by November 15, 2015

You can email them to friendsofeliestoun@gmail.com or mail them to:
Friends of Eliestoun
PO Box 35
Elsah, IL  62028

Submissions become the property of Friends of Eliestoun nfp and may be used to create income-generating items; they may be auctioned off to the highest bidder; or they may be used for other promotional possibilities.

Nearing Letter of Intent Completion

Friends of Eliestoun has been moving forward with deliberate, progressive steps in advancing our work. This work requires much care and due diligence and moves more slowly than we all wish. We have interviewed firms and individuals with whom we plan to work in the upcoming months and years.

Through these discussions and much prayerful work, we selected Metropolitan Build, a Saint Louis-based firm experienced with historic preservation projects and that has a proven history with Principia. Their professional background with Principia includes the renovations of Anderson Hall, Rackham Court, Cox Cottage, and other lesser projects on the college campus. An alumnus of the college is one of its principals.

Our decision to work with Metropolitan Build will commence with the finalization of a Letter of Intent with Principia. Then, we begin a comprehensive feasibility study for Eliestoun. This study includes identifying the highest and best use of Eliestoun to base its continuing service on for the community at large and to complement the mission, vision and values of Principia College. Estimated costs associated with renovating the property and main structure for that use are part of the feasibility study.

By December 31, 2015, we will present a major milestone report to Principia, and expect to be completed with the entire study by March 31, 2016. Several other milestones both before and after December 31 are scheduled and we will post you with these once accomplished.

After the study is complete, we expect to formalize a lease with Principia allowing renovation work to begin on site once sufficient funding goals have been achieved.

Other Eliestoun-related activities include working with Principia College to address emergency repairs. And some local residents have held several yard sales for the community with all proceeds donated to Friends of Eliestoun, now surpassing $1000.

Progress with Eliestoun

It’s been so long since we’ve communicated with you about Eliestoun that we would like to bring you up-to-date.

The Friends of Eliestoun Board meets every week. We are actively taking steps that are needed before we can make emergency repairs or conduct tours of the building.

Here are those steps:

  1. We have been interviewing project managers, architects, and other workers who are interested in our project.
  2. We are securing an appraisal and proper insurance coverage.
  3. We are composing a Letter of Intent with Principia, to be followed up with a final lease.

Summer Sessioners will be arriving here June 13th, and we want to share with them our project. This may be by means of an information table in the concourse and a projection in the concourse of an Eliestoun video.

Don’t forget facebook.com/friendsofeliestoun. If you know of some people who would like to know more about Eliestoun, invite them to add their email address to our list from our homepage.

We are grateful for all of your support for this project, and appreciate your commitment to restoring Eliestoun to its former beauty. Thank you for your prayerful, financial, and social contributions to the efforts to save Eliestoun.

Moving Forward

Now that we have met the first goal and our bank account is growing. These are our next steps:

  • Finalizing the lease with Principia
  • Filling positions for:
    • Architect
    • Project Manager
    • Head of Fundraising
    • Head of Enterprise Fundraising
  • We will begin these in earnest in 2015.

Once the architect and/or project manager are determined, we will use funds to have inspections made, assess, and handle any immediate needs. Among first project considerations are: extending water access to the property for fire hydrants, asbestos removal, and determining a realistic projection of overall project costs.