It’s No Ordinary Time for Buildings & Grounds!

Summer is typically a slow period around the church, but not this year. The Buildings & Grounds Committee has been full steam ahead with three major projects and a slew of minor ones.

Here’s a rundown of some of the work being done. One advantage of doing all this now: Contractors don’t have to schedule around other church activities.

Major Projects 

Bell Tower. The most visible work is the tuck-pointing of the bell tower, a repair project that was put off numerous times over the last 15 years or so.

RAM Construction has been using a multi-story cherry picker to go from bottom to top, checking the state of the mortar and the three different types of stones used in the tower. They’re finding that sun, heat, and water have led to varying degrees of deterioration on different sides of the tower. In addition, they and our project manager, Quinn Evans, are evaluating replacement stones and mortar options, to ensure that the new pieces are a good match for what we have now.

“I can see where we’re getting the value” of paying Quinn Evans to oversee the work, Desmond Jones, a Vestry member who is the liaison to the Buildings & Grounds Committee, said at the July 9 Vestry meeting. Angela Wyrembelski, the on-site representative for Quinn Evans, “has rejected some things that I wouldn’t have even seen,” he said. “I’m pleased to see her rejecting some things, and not just rubber-stamping what the contractor first wants to do.”

For example, she dismissed all of the limestone samples as inappropriate or a bad match for what we have. In another case, a sample of mortar for the tuckpointing was deemed an acceptable match, but there was some concern as to whether the work was straight enough to be approved. “Angela has our back,” Jones said.

Sanctuary floor and waterproofing. Bids on the work were due July 27. Now the B&G Committee is reviewing them. The plan is to move quickly, and not just in terms of repairing the rotted support beams under the sanctuary floor near the east and west walls. In fact, this work also dovetails with the third major project:

Stormwater runoff reduction. Currently, rainwater flows off our roofs and back towards the walls, rather than away. That has contributed to the deterioration of the flooring support beams, and may have been the cause of the collapse of the stone benches in the courtyard. In addition, water pools in one of our basement rooms, sometimes taking up to a month to evaporate from there.

After several false starts (An early design proposal assumed that Christ Church owns the triangle-shaped park to the east of the church parking lot. We don’t.), we have a full project proposal ready for review by B&G and other interested parties. This is part of a city-wide effort to reduce the amount of rainwater runoff that overwhelms the city’s sewer system, sometimes resulting in untreated sewage being disgorged into the Detroit River. We have grants from the city and the diocese to help pay for the work.

Other projects

Security cameras. One or two workmen were to be in the buildings this week, stringing cables as they install additional cameras and upgraded technology.

Roofing repairs. After an inspection found at least 35 tiles missing from our sanctuary and Ledyard Hall roofs, B&G is evaluating bids for needed fixes.

Boiler. While the core of our boiler is still strong, an inspection of the left half found a lot of corrosion on the tubes there, which lead to leaks and inadequate water flow. We need to replace all 58 tubes on that side. The job should be easy to do, but time consuming. On the plus side, we have several months before we’ll be needing to heat the buildings again.

Water heater. We will replace our current 100-gallon unit with a more efficient 75-gallon one.