The new $1.25-million De La Salle High School gymnasium apparently will not be covered in "eefus."
You might well wonder about that. Eefus? A fungus? Some exotic creeping vine? Actually, the term is "EIFS" (exterior insulation and finish systems), and it refers to a kind of poor man's stucco fashioned from polystyrene. Only it's pronounced "eefus."
The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission ruled that the material didn't meld with the historic flavor of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, in which the Nicollet Island school lies. The commission suggested brick or limestone might be a nice replacement.
School officials say the decision will add more than $80,000 to the project and cause delays. Heritage Commission vice-chair Ginny Housum called the cost argument a "red herring" in a project already costing more than $1 million. On June 25, the City Council's Zoning and Planning committee voted 4-2 to deny the school's appeal of the Heritage commission's decision.
Housum acknowledges that EIFS is not expressly forbidden as a building material in historic preservation districts, which she attributed to guidelines that had not been recently revised. She predicted the material eventually would be banned.
Housum said the commission has learned that the surface material, which was introduced in the U.S. some 30 years ago, is not holding up over time.
EIFS, by the way, is the same material that covers much of the new Block E development Downtown.