Renovation Progress

A shot of the exterior of the building, with the primer coat on the brick.

As we are nearly the end of the last phase of renovation, we’re beginning to see the progress in more dramatic ways. Parts of the exterior are being re-bricked, and the exterior has been painted with a primer, readying it for final painting. The new roof, a bright, Mediterranean inspired blue, has been put on. Work continues on the interior, and painting and finishing the ceilings should be done this week, as well as finishing the HVAC replacement in the downstairs of the add-on. Even these incomplete cosmetic changes have made a huge impact on our 63 year old building.

However, as is so often the case with renovations, once we got into demolition, some serious issues appeared that had to be addressed, which were not in the original budget. Not only did we have to rewire the whole building (something we had expected, given its age), we also discovered that attempts by the previous owners to fix the leaking roof over the 50 year old add-on in the back had only served to exacerbate the problem. As a result, not only did we have to repair their attempt to fix it, by resetting the engineered roof beam which spans almost the entire width of the building, we also had to replace all the rafters and the plywood, before the new metal roofing could be installed. As you may be aware, lumber prices this year have been at historic highs, and as a result, this particular expense, plus the lumber and engineered beams to reinforce the ceiling over the altar, cost us $20,000 more than our original budget. Another $10,000 budget overrun occurred through additional changes necessary for HVAC and bringing the restrooms and side entrance up to handicap accessibility code.

The altar area, showing the beams and posts that were necessary to shore up the structural integrity of the ceiling rafters.

Despite these setbacks, we are hoping to be moving in to the 1731 13th St N building before the beginning of the Dormition Fast (the end of August for those of us on the Julian Calendar). We will gratefully accept any assistance that anyone would like to offer, in terms of monetary donations, or for those local to us, in helping physically move in. There are also some projects we will need to finish inside, including the construction of a semi-permanent iconostasis and some shrines, for which we would greatly appreciate help from anyone who might have experience with carpentry, cabinetry, and/or construction.

If you would like to make a tax-free donation to the Chapel, you can do so via PayPal or through Square.

Thank you very much for everyone who has already contributed to this project, and even more to those who have prayed for us for so many years! Without you, our dream of having a dedicated temple to St John Cassian in Bessemer would not have become a reality.