Spain House cost goes up $5,000

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – It will cost an additional $5,000 to relocate the Spain House after architects determined a portion of the structure initially slated for demolition is original to the house and must be kept.
Kosciusko House Movers owner John Williams identified the portion as a roughly 225-square-foot room on the home’s southwest corner. Experts initially had thought the room was added to the house years after its 1914 build date, but a more recent analysis revealed it was part of the original design.
As a result, it must be kept and will increase the cost of the entire project to $180,740.
Tupelo has a $175,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to pay for the relocation but had to agree to a $25,000 match. Calvary Baptist Church, which owns the lot on which the house currently sits, will pay $10,000.
The City Council on Tuesday voted 4-3 to approve the increase. Objectors were Ward 5 Councilman Jonny Davis, Ward 6 Councilman Mike Bryan and council President Fred Pitts of Ward 2.
“My understanding is that the city isn’t going to be out an additional $5,000 for this project,” said Ward 3 Councilman Jim Newell. “It will either be absorbed by savings in other areas or covered by the historic society.”
Potential savings could come from utility work, said Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission member Doyce Deas.
Tupelo Water & Light will charge $24,959 to move utility lines during the move if it happens during normal business hours. If it happens after hours, though, overtime rates kick in and will drive the price to $31,754.
Williams said he anticipates being able to move the house within one day and that it should happen between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., shaving some $6,800 off the worst-case price scenario.
If that doesn’t happen, Deas said the nonprofit arm of the Historic Preservation Commission will cover the difference.
The commission launched an effort to save the Spain House from the wrecking ball three years ago. The house will be relocated from its current spot on the corner of Main and Madison streets a few blocks south to the corner of Church and Carnation streets.

Click video to hear audio