From the Interim Rector/Epiphany 351 Update
Recently our Wardens, Christian and Jason, were able to join the architects (Jimmy and Evan), construction manager (Carolina), and me on a site visit to our future church home. Suited up with hardhats we climbed scaffolding stairs, poked around nearly every floor and saw the progress we are making. Overall, it still looks very raw, but there are places where interior walls are going up and you can begin to get a sense of how the space will be laid out and the overall flow of the building. Here are some video clips of the tour that you might enjoy seeing.
The cellar will hold the majority of the equipment needed to run the building. From a large water detention tank required by the city to collect rainwater before it is discharged into the city storm drains, to the boiler room, fire pump room, electrical room, etc. There’s even a dedicated IT room. In addition, there are large separate pantries for the Parish and the Carter Burden Lunch Program including a large walk-in freezer and refrigerator. Click here for few scenes from the cellar.
Next, we move to the top of the building where the gymnasium is getting a complete make-over. You will notice in the video that one wall of the gym is gone and that the roof is being supported by steel beams. That is because it was discovered that entire west wall was structurally unsound and had to come down and be rebuilt. One of the many unexpected surprises in the project. Click here for a view of the gym.
Nave and Sanctuary
From there we returned to the second floor to look at the Nave and Sanctuary. As you will see, this room, like every other room in the building has been gutted to the walls. A couple of structural changes we made to this room were to lengthen the windows on the west and east walls to allow more light into the room. The window openings are now nearly twice the length of what they were when we bought the building. You’ll also notice the apse is undergoing structural changes. This is so we can accommodate the five historic windows from our current location so that they could be fit into the new building. These windows came from the previous Church of the Epiphany and were installed in the chapel in the current building. Now they be installed in the new building and be the focal point of the space, along with the organ that will be installed in a couple of years. And, as you watch the clip, don’t be alarmed by the massive steel column and bracing you’ll see. This is there to keep the building from collapsing until the permanent structural steel is in place. This was also an unexpected surprise as we discovered a long abandoned and forgotten flue that runs the entire height of the building between the west building (which was built first), and the east building (which was built about 25 years later). This cavity greatly concerned the project engineer who deemed that was it serious enough that we had to stop work in that area until a system could be devised to carry the weight of the building during ongoing construction. The large beam penetrating the ceiling of the Nave is that temporary solution. At some point, as the rest of the structural steel is installed this beam will be cut apart and taken out piece by piece and the hole in the ceiling will be repaired. Click here for the view of the Nave.
New Structural Steel
The Saturday before the 4th of July holiday was an eventful day at 351. The street was closed to traffic as a large crane lowered structural steel columns into the building. You can watch that happening here. As you will see, the steel was lifted above the roof one piece at a time and then lowered through a hole in the roof and corresponding holes in each floor going down. On the roof there were a team of construction workers guiding the steel through the hole as it was lowered. Teams on each floor below did the same until it came to rest of the previously installed beam where another crew then bolted the new beam to that previously installed beam. In this way they worked floor by floor creating just one aspect of the extensive overall structural plan that will ensure that the new Epiphany will stand for many, many years, perhaps even centuries.
Move in Date
The question we are all asking is, when will the project be completed and we can move in. At this time the plan is to begin moving in the spring of 2022. We’ll start with moving the church as this requires the fewest licenses and permits. This will hopefully happen in April. Next will come Carter Burden. Because we have to have not only capacity and assembly permits, the kitchen will have to receive a permit from the Department of Health to allow food to be prepared and served from there. Hopefully we’ll have the necessary permits in hand by late April or early May. And last, the Church of the Epiphany Day School will move in mid-May once school is out for the summer. Even if we don’t get the needed license from the Department of Health by May, with school out for the summer we can move all the school furniture into the classrooms, etc. so that CEDS can begin with the fall 2022 term.
There is much work still ahead but the finish line draws closer and closer. There will certainly be sadness at leaving a building that has been Epiphany’s home since 1939, but also excitement at what the new building will be able to offer, not only by providing more space, but by providing more opportunities to expand the reach of Epiphany’s life, mission and ministries. Over these next 10 months as we prepare to move, Mo. Elise, Jeremy and I are working on ways to help us say goodbye and honor our history and celebrate our future. A future God already holds in the palms of God’s hands, ready to gift it to this faith-filled and courageous parish.