Creating Spaces to Gather: The Expansion and Renovation of Hamilton Chapel at Belmont Hill School

Originally built in 1840 and relocated from Connecticut in 1963, the Hamilton Chapel is a historic and iconic building that sits in the middle of the Belmont Hill School campus.

The renovation of the historic Hamilton Chapel included the stabilization of the original post and beam building, significant MEP upgrades, new custom made pews, and complex utility work. Concurrent with the renovation, Windover also constructed a 7,000 square-foot addition providing program space needed to accommodate all-school assemblies for 450 students and 75 faculty members.


A Trusted Advisor

Starting during preconstruction, Windover worked with Belmont Hill School, the design team, and trade partners to navigate challenges that arose during this complex renovation and addition to the historical building. These are just a few examples of how Windover fostered collaboration, communication, and innovation to restore and preserve this important gathering space for the Belmont Hill community.


Challenge: Simplifying the Integration of New and Old Structures

The original scope of work for the addition required installing a steel truss to replace an existing timber frame at the intersection of the existing and new structures. This would have required complex and disruptive shoring and an expensive custom-made steel truss with a long lead time. Windover developed a solution that utilized common steel angles to reinforce the existing timber frame and create a truss in place. This saved significant cost, time, and disruption on the project while also preserving the original timbers in this historic chapel.


Challenge: Complex Site Utilities

Part of the project required relocating utilities on a logistically challenging site in the middle of an occupied campus. Windover utilized technology such as drone mapping and BIM to overlay the existing systems with the new footprint in a 3D phasing sequence. This sequence combined a drone-based scan of the existing conditions with a 3D model of the existing utilities and the new utility plan, helping to communicate the complex phasing with the entire project team. As a result, the utility work was successfully completed without coordination surprises or any unplanned disruption to the school.


Challenge: Preserving Heritage and the Budget

The Hamilton Chapel is an icon on campus. The school community gathers there regularly and “chapel talks” are an important memory for generations of alumni. It was critical the new, much larger chapel feel like the old chapel. Windover worked closely with Belmont Hill and Bruner/Cott to evaluate many options for flooring, pew replacement, pew repair, light fixture options, and flexible stage systems to preserve the old feel while finding the optimal balance of cost, program, and aesthetics.


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