Published in the April 2019 issue of ParishLife.
With ReNEWal campaign solicitations underway parish-wide, the campaign’s two primary capital projects are progressing. I.L. Long Construction Company began work on the 875 West Fifth Street building on January 29, and the Christman Company, construction manager for the 1928 church building restoration, set up its construction office in St. Paul’s upper parking lot on March 13.
The 875 Building
“We’re six weeks into a four-and-a-half-month project, and there’s not much to see right now,” said parishioner Larry Robbs, architect for the 875 building. “But in the next six weeks, you’ll see a lot.”
Outdoors along Pilot View Street, new water and sewer lines have been installed. Within the still-open interior space, plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems are being roughed in and the concrete floor is being ground and polished. “Concrete is a very sustainable, low-maintenance floor,” said Larry. “We’ll put ceiling tiles in some areas to help acoustically, but most of the beams overhead will be exposed to give you a sense of the full height of the space. We’ll end up with what I call an ‘industrial chic’ interior.”
Interior walls will go up next, and new windows will be added to the east side of the building. The front entrance will be reconfigured to restore it to its original design. The building’s exterior will be cleaned and re-caulked. “That’s all we have to do,” said Larry. “The brick, mortar and roof are fine.
“When we’re finished later this summer, we’ll have an essentially new 14,000-square- foot building,” he added. “This new space will allow our parish to expand outreach and offer more opportunities for our own programs and activities. The success of the campaign so far is an affirmation this is a good idea. The congregation is clearly behind it and sees the benefit.”
The 1928 Church Building
With a Certificate of Appropriateness from the city’s Historic Resources Committee, a building permit, and Christman’s office now set up, restoration of the exterior of Ralph Adams Cram’s church is about to begin.
“The scaffolding will be erected and most subcontractors will be on site in the next few weeks,” said parishioner and restoration architect Joe Oppermann. “The conservator, masons and window experts—all plus our design team have worked with Christman before. Much analysis, testing and prep work have already been completed, and the whole team has met several times since last fall to discuss how to stage the project so the work progresses most efficiently. Our objectives are to make repairs comparable to the quality and craftsmanship of the original construction and to make improvements that will extend longevity.”
The unanticipated discovery of asbestos in mortar used in previous repairs has delayed getting started and added abatement work. “The contaminated mortar will be removed by skilled masons to minimize the risk of damage to the stone,” said Joe. “The remediation team will collect and dispose of it, and the masons can then proceed with the repointing and other repairs.”
Work on the stained glass windows will occur ahead of the masonry repairs. “They’ll remove a few windows at a time, take them back to their shop for repair, then reinstall after the masons have finished,” said Joe. “We expect to complete the repairs by February 2020.”
Of the success of the ReNEWal campaign to support the work, Joe said, “This really is a remarkable congregation. Everybody has been supportive. I think it’s because we all recognize what a treasure the church is to this congregation and this community. We want to do our best to pass it in fine shape to the next generations of parishioners.”
The goal for the ReNEWal campaign is $10 million. As of mid-March, gifts and pledges so far total $8.9 million. “While the campaign has made great progress to date, we still have a ways to go to reach, or hopefully exceed the goal,” said Campaign Chair David Broughton. “We also want as close to 100% parishioner participation as possible, so we encourage everyone to give.”