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newcolumnWorkers made a special delivery to the Milton campus, as the restoration of the four white, wooden columns in front of the Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium (RSG) began on Wednesday. The crews will carefully remove the building’s historic columns this week and replace them with replica structures that hold true to the building’s century-old design.

The existing columns were original to the RSG, which was built in 1921. After 95 years of lending support to the building’s entrance and portico, they were in need of replacement, says Jim Selman, Milton’s associate director of construction and standards. The column to the far right had been previously repaired as it began to fail, but now no longer matches the other originals.

Milton contracted with the historical division of Shawmut Design and Construction of Boston for the new columns, which are faithful to the original design. They have a “passive ventilation” system, which allows some air flow into the hollow structures, says Jim.

“They’re also made of a harder, denser wood than the original white pine columns,” Jim says. “That will give us more life.”

Milton’s facilities services will also determine the scope of work to replace windows at the RSG, and will remove the Palladian window facing the football field, which will neaten the building’s appearance inside and out.