I hope you have had an opportunity to see our new south wall! If not, plan to take some time to relax on the Capitol lawn and look across at our new brick wall. Look toward the peak of the roof and you will see the new limestone trefoil! It is quite stunning and adds to the overall appearance. Next week, Schiffers Masonry will be washing the brick wall and the following week the bricks will be stained to match the 103 year-old brick.
At the same time, work will begin on building the interior brick wall. The bricks arrive on July 10th and a crew will soon follow to put them in place. Around the frame of the stained glass window on the interior will be a new limestone border to enhance the beauty of the window when it returns. Also, the narthex (vestibule to some) has been literally re-built as the framing and trusses had rotted and fallen into disrepair. New trusses, roof and soon interior wood framing will complete that work. This is all part of the project known as the Te Deum window and wall to be completed at a cost of approximately $1.5 million of which insurance is paying the bulk of the expenses.
As you remember, Vestry authorized a more in-depth structural analysis of the ‘old’ building which unearthed (pardon the pun) some additional work which we must attend to with some urgency. The asbestos abatement in the undercroft where all of our steam pipes and floor supports for the church are housed has been completed. This required approximately two weeks and a whole bucket load of concrete — the only way to encapsulate the asbestos ground into the dirt was by pouring it full of concrete. This cost $50,000. Vestry also authorized the new floor support framing under the sanctuary requiring three steel beams, four new joists, new 2×4 framing around each concrete pillar and five new concrete and steel piers. ($61,000) Wow! This wall and floor will never move again!
Of course, whenever you are dealing with an old building, other interesting and necessary issues arise. We are awaiting bids for numerous projects including: re-grading and new drainage system in the Memorial Garden; excavation and replacement of our parking lot and sewer pipes; roof repairs over the Cloister and Chapel area; removal of the Rose Window and enclosure of the wall; strengthening the structural integrity of the sanctuary wall arches. Our Vestry has approved re-finishing the Sanctuary wood floor ($35,000) which will include performing stress cuts around each pillar and moving all the pews, and new lighting for the Sanctuary ($80,000). These two projects need to be completed while the lifts and scaffolding are on-site (as this will save us some money) and the pews are already half removed. Replacing our lighting will offer new energy efficiencies and lessen any risk of fire from old fixtures or wiring. (And we won’t have to pay $5,000 every time we need to change the bulbs.)
Now, for the Te Deum window — at last we have the CAD drawings necessary for the construction of the steel frame and aluminum structures — these are being built by two different firms. It will require approximately 14 weeks for these to be completed if no other hiccups occur. So we need to cross our fingers and say our prayers. I continue to hold out great hope that we will be celebrating Christmas in our newly restored Sanctuary.
We have much to be thankful for and we often receive notes and emails from folks at the Capitol who watch the progress on a daily basis. It is difficult to believe that it has been four months since the wall started moving. At times it seems like just yesterday and at other times it feels like we have been plodding along at this for years. Then I remember that it took the Israelites 40 years to arrive in the Promised Land. My sense is that we will be back in our traditional space long before then.
I trust the summer has been relaxing, refreshing and full of family fun for you. Please stay safe and remember to hold all of our construction workers in your thoughts and prayers.
Blessings to you and yours,