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Sanctuary Building Renovations

Serving on the Building Committee was an honor for me. My business has been in the management and construction side of commercial real estate, and to be able to use these skills to serve the Kingdom of God was a true blessing.

This project allowed the Committee to witness the restoration, renewal and rebuilding of areas of the church that had not had any attention paid to it for many years. To identify these issues and then give the time and care to them brought new life to our church…similar to what God does in my life on a regular basis! God is in the business of restoring, renewing and rebuilding the broken and neglected areas of my life. The parallels are uncanny in this way.

We faced many challenges on this project. Some of the more significant situations that really made us be creative were:

  • Waterproofing the sanctuary building from top to bottom- The sanctuary roof with the original Italian ceramic tiles became a bigger challenge when the membrane we installed under the tiles failed. We removed and carefully stored these old tiles to be reused after the membrane was installed. New code required us to adhere the tiles with glue (whereas they were nailed in place before). Once this was completed and the roof was water tested did we find out about the membrane failure. We then had to remove all the tiles, breaking many in the process, which was very sad to witness. However, we were able find the manufacturer of the tile, order new ones, and put these new tiles face down on the new membrane, allowing us to use the old, saved tiles face up on the roof, keeping the old, rustic look we all love. Quite the challenge!

As we moved down to the basement, we had severe leaking occurring underground on the west side (?) of the building, facing the playground area. Water had been leaking through this wall for years. We had to dig down to the bottom of the basement and waterproof the entire length of this wall. The toughest challenge to this project was the 100+ year old Oak tree on the south end of the building. We could not use the traditional method of digging down and exposing this wall for fear that we would destroy the roots and kill this majestic tree. So, the creative solution was to aerate around the roots, digging with air pressure to not destroy the tree; tedious work, but necessary for our history. We saved the tree and waterproofed our building.

  • The Fellowship Hall Tunnel- As we tore out the old ramp that led to the Fellowship Hall in order to put in a new one that met the ADA requirements, we discovered a huge tunnel that ran under the building. No one really knew about this tunnel, or that a gas and water line ran through it. This was a big unknown that required us to evaluate the structural integrity of the tunnel and reroute service lines. One of the many surprises!

  • Access to the Sanctuary Ceiling Area- Above the sanctuary along the length the of it was a narrow, rickety platform that required a rope and excellent balance to walk (or crawl) across the ceiling to service lights and our air conditioning ducts serving the sanctuary. It was very dangerous, and our maintenance folks had been maneuvering up there in this way for years! Needless to say, we built a new, structurally sound platform to provide access to the “hidden” equipment and lighting systems above.

  • Kitchen Flooring- We certainly had an old, small and outdated kitchen…but not many people went in there, nor did they realize working in there required you to maneuver 3 different flooring levels just to do your job! Dangerous and inefficient, the Committee agreed to level the floor, expand the kitchen size, and turn this kitchen into a first-class commercial kitchen that would make any restaurant jealous! The design and development of this kitchen was well worth the challenge.

There are so many other issues we could explore together. These few were some of the more unique situations we had to address that made this project very special to us.


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