It has been a while since I last sent an update. Things are changing from one moment to the next regarding the window and wall. The good news is that the steel frame (also known as the “buck”) was installed this week. It was a challenge for the welders to line everything up and weld it level — it took a bit longer than expected. And accuracy is key as the aluminum frame for the Te Deum window must fit exactly into the buck. Here’s crossing our fingers, but the welders and masons are confident it will fit.
During the rebuilding of the middle wall out of cinderblock, it was noted that the original wall was not plumb — in fact, it was off by two inches. Yikes! This means the narthex wall (vestibule for the non-Episcopalians) does not fit the new wall that is plumb — thus another repair to be made. The cinderblock wall should be completed within the next week. Prior to its completion, the new limestone trefoil will be inserted into place. This limestone is replacing the small stained glass window that previously was there. The stained glass frame was severely damaged and has been sent off for repair. To maintain the integrity of the new wall and to minimize long term maintenance, a limestone trefoil has been cut in the exact same shape and design as the small stained glass window.
The exterior brick wall will be initiated once the middle wall is completed. The interior brick wall will be started a bit later as the bricks are on order. It has been a significant challenge to find bricks that match those on both the exterior and interior of our building — they are over 100 years old and no longer manufactured. If you look closely, you will discover that both the exterior and interior walls each consist of four different bricks — 8 in total. The brick salesman was literally visiting brickyards all over the country trying to find the correct blend for our needs.
The Vestry authorized several weeks ago a full structural analysis of what we call the “old building” — everything that is original to the 1913 construction — including the chapel and cloister. The structural engineer and her assistant spent a week in our building pulling bricks out of walls and arches; crawling underneath and checking out our foundation, pillars, joists and any crack in any place; checking clerestory stained glass windows from a lift to discern if dry rot or other problems exist; examining roofs for snow loads, etc. We are awaiting this final report but we do know that we have some additional structural repairs to tackle in the next year — some sooner.
The Facility Task Force has a handle on obtaining bids for building projects that have popped up as a result of a swaying wall and Vestry has approved soil boring for the parking lot (to determine why it is sinking); asbestos testing of the entire St. Paul’s facility; and camera examination of gutters and pipes to discern why water is not being diverted the way it needs to away from the building.
Yes, much is happening! But it is all good as we restore this beautiful facility for ministry use for the next 100 years. Blessings to all of you,