@ Scawen, thanks for the write up, it sounds like Eric is giving it all a proper seeing to!
I've been in a similar situation myself, I worked on a port of a game from PS2 to PSP and had to rework old geometry to suit the PSP as all the assets were created in the earlier days of the PS2. As you might imagine, there were environment assets that used modelling techniques that were pretty old school (relying on large surfaces with large amounts of uv repeating, cuts made in to the geometry for vertex lighting, etc) which we had to adjust to suit the PSP better.
It's all worth it though when the final result goes beyond what the original assets could ever have achieved, and I'm sure that when Eric is done, you'll have a base level for the geometry that you know is rock solid.
Can't wait to see the fruits of the labour though, sounds like this will be a pretty beefy update!