Roof repairs made to Hotel Aiken

May 19—The Aiken Design Review Board recently got an update on efforts to stabilize Hotel Aiken until the building's future can be determined.

Aiken Economic Development Director Tim O'Briant and Community Development Block Grant Administrator Sabina Craig told the Design Review Board on May 2 repairs had been made to the building's roof to eliminate water leaks and resultant damage to the structure.

Craig showed pictures in a PowerPoint presentation of the work being completed over a two-week period. The pictures showed the installation of crickets — bumps that direct the flow of water to points off the roof — and the covering of the crickets with a leak prevention substance known as a membrane. The presentation also showed the installation of a heavy tarp for the shingled parts of the roof and the installation of plyboard in holes where water was entering the building.

Design Review Board Chairman McDonald Law has said repeatedly — and again May 2 — that the addition added to the hotel in the 1930s eliminated the ability of water on one part of the roof to flow off of it, causing water and, eventually mud, to collect on the roof.

The crickets eliminate this problem by directing water to scuppers that take the water off the roof and down to the ground.

The Design Review Board is involved with the Hotel Aiken's maintenance due to a request received last year to consider whether the structure was being demolished by neglect of the owner, the Aiken Municipal Development Commission. As per its usual procedure, the board is working with the owner — and the soon-to-be owner, the city — to improve and stabilize the structure while its future is being determined.

O'Briant added the additional water leaving the roof showed there were leaks into the hotel's basement that need to be addressed. He said the next steps are to apply to the Design Review Board for permission to remove the decayed awnings and to remove the portico structure fronting on Richland Avenue.

He said the story is that the portico is located within the right of way owned by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and was added over a weekend after the city's building inspector went home on a Friday evening.

O'Briant added the structure could be lightly pressure-washed.

The hotel's future will be determined via a request for proposal issued by the city.