Today’s wet weather has not slowed things down a bit here at St. Paul’s. The masons have completed the middle wall, also known as the cmu, and are currently taking a break while others roll on it, from top to bottom, a tar substance that gives the cinder blocks extra protection against dampness. What we do know for sure is that it will take more than wind gusts to bring this wall down next time. The cmu is reinforced with steel throughout and has additional grout poured through out the wall to increase its strength.
Next week you will see the exterior brick wall rise from the ground up. The stonecutters will be dropping off (more like unloading) the 750 lb. trefoil limestone to be placed in the wall above where the Te Deum window is located and the limestone capstones. One of the many decisions that was made last week was what kind of striking of the mortar joints did we want. Yes, I too had to ask them what the heck they were talking about. I learned that the mortar between the bricks can be smoothed in a variety of ways — with a trowel or not — with the edge of the mortar out at the top or out at the bottom. My sense was that it needed to match what was already in place with the other walls.
While the wall work continues, Myers is here with Jim Clark and Joe Lehning (Facility Task Force members) conducting camera work of our sewer pipes underneath the parking lot as we try to figure out why the parking lot seems to be sinking. Next Wednesday, another company will be here to take soil borings to give us a sense of what is underneath the asphalt of the parking lot, so again, we can figure out why the lot is sinking and what repair steps need to be taken. (Note you will not be able to park in our parking lot that day.)
A gutter specialist also stopped by today to help us figure out how to move water through the downspouts away from the corner wall in the Memorial Garden. Currently the water is dispersed in such a manner that the organ motor room (below the downspout) is constantly wet. One of his suggestions was yearly maintenance would be of benefit as he pulled handfuls of leaves out of our tile drains. I suspect even though we do this in our own homes on a yearly basis, we forget the church gutters and drains need the same attention.
Our structural engineer has been busy working on the analysis of the old building as she seeks reasons why there are cracks in the walls and arches. She has discovered several broken joists underneath the nave which will need to be repaired as part of our restoration project. Next week, our stained glass company will be here all day to do a survey of all of our stained glass windows. He did note this week that the caulking around the Robson window has deteriorated and will need some work sooner than later.
The Vestry has kept up with all that has been happening and has approved expenditure of funds for the full structural analysis ($34,000), camera viewing of our sewer pipes, soil borings of the parking lot, an asbestos survey of the entire St. Paul’s facility ($8,500), and a consultation fee of $500 for a lighting architect to provide us with possible lighting options for the nave. As we begin our St. Paul’s 21st Century Restoration Project you will soon receive the listing of projects and associated costs that need to be accomplished — some as soon as possible while others may wait a year or two.
It is certainly not boring around here. Staff tries to maintain regular hours and responsibilities as all of this work swirls around us. At times it is incredibly noisy when cinderblocks are being cut to fit or lifts are moving blocks up the tower for insertion, or the mixing of the mortar. Did you know the difference between mortar and grout is based upon its coarseness and that mortar is classified by numbers, and bricks require a different number of mortar than do cinderblocks? What I have learned during this process.
As the restoration project list grows, it can be overwhelming at times. And yet, we must remember, that those who have gone before us — those whom we never knew — struggled with similar issues and certainly didn’t have the technology and equipment we have today. Perhaps our gift to future generations is a building that will withstand almost every weather condition — a building that will house incredible ministry to this community and beyond for the next 100 years.
Each Tuesday morning I meet with our contractors and often, I walk away from the meeting overwhelmed and concerned about the work that is to be done. And yet these folks, are ever caring of me and this place and do their very best not only with the building work but in trying to make it as easy as possible for us. I will be forever grateful for the gift God gave us with Laux Construction and their sub-contractors.
Please continue to hold St. Paul’s in your prayers and those who work here in all of the various capacities.