Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, April 26

Next weekend at all the Masses we will celebrate the success of the “Faithful To Our Mission” capital campaign. We appreciate all the campaign volunteers, all the donors, and all who prayed for our parish to be successful. THANK YOU!

Now we need to get on with the project. Currently the parish property committee is refining the conceptual drawings and pricing of materials. There is still much work to be done before a final design is nailed down.

Because of the bad experience with discovering unforeseen conditions on the garage construction project (finding all sorts of buried tanks that cost a great deal to remove and environmentally remediate), we have been trying to proceed cautiously and find out exactly what the conditions are that we will be dealing with.

Our testing (you can see some of the holes in the walls from the testing) has actually produced some surprise good news. First of all we discovered that the limestone façade is glued directly onto the supporting wall. There is not an airspace - for insulation and to allow moisture to drip down – between the façade and the main support wall. That would be usual construction practice, and what we expected, but it is not what we have. We then tested the mastic (the glue) that holds the stones onto the support wall fearing there would be asbestos in the mastic. If you have been part of the parish for a long time you may remember that asbestos was discovered in the ceiling of the church and it was all removed. So we suspected it in the wall as well. Because of environmental and health concerns, removal of asbestos is complicated and costly. Fortunately, we found NO asbestos behind the stone façade. So that was good news.

We also discovered that while the metal clips on the east side of the church and rectory are very badly degraded, some of them entirely rusted through, the clips on the west and south sides are almost like brand new. They will be good for another century. Because the removal of the stone is costly, we have decided that on the sides where the façade is still in very good shape (i.e., south and west), rather than bust off the stone and replace it with all new material, we will power-wash the stone, tuck point the walls, and then seal them. This is a much more cost effective way to deal with the walls and allow us to make sure we will be able to do the other parts of the program such as ADA compliant bathrooms, debt reduction and enhanced ministry space in the old parish offices on the first floor of the rectory. It does present a challenge to the architects to make sure the new material and the old blend well. They seem up to the challenge.

Fortunately, the places where the façade is in good shape are exactly the places that are less visible, especially on the south and west sides.

We will remove the stone from the east (Guadalupe facing) side of the church and rectory, the tower (which is in bad shape) and at least a portion of the north side of the rectory. How much depends on how much we can afford. We are trying to proceed cautiously, in part to be responsible, in part due to the unhappy experience of great cost overruns on the garage construction project.

Please continue to keep our parish, and especially the parish property committee, in your prayers!

God bless,

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