Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Big Progress

Column Capital on August 5, 2009

Column Capital on August 19, 2009

Work on the new roof and electrical system now is smoothly heading into the fine-detail stage, with nearly all roofing and gutters in place, cornices installed, and even the painting nearing about the 40 percent completion point.

In a bi-weekly construction progress meeting today, construction manager John Farrell and construction supervisor Lou DiCicco of J.S. Cornell and Sons confirmed that the UArts parking lot next door would be returned to UArts staff Monday, with final cleanup and the removal of the security fencing on the 13th Street entrance slated for this Friday. The entire north side of the church fronting the parking lot has already been painted except for some low-lying detail work. The scaffolding along the lot has already been removed.

DiCicco estimated that the roofing is 95 percent complete, with one small section of lower-lying roof above the north-side organ chamber and lady chapel to be resurfaced later this week. Also, some detail work on some diverters and downspouts remains.

Scaffolding has already been installed inside the nave for ceiling touchup plaster and paint work at the joint above where the nave meets the chancel, and in the back south portion of the church where a hole was created during survey work last winter. Cornell and the paint contractor are currently working to match the paint that was applied in the summer of 2003. They have also cast a mold of the rosettes that surround the light fixtures on the ceiling and are re-creating eight new rosettes to replace the six that fell off in recent years and to allow us two back-ups, along with a permanent mold in case we ever need to create additional ones.

Some additional scaffolding will be temporarily installed in the front portico to allow painters safer access while scraping and repainting the nearly 50-foot columns. New scrolls for the capitals, replacing one that fell and was destroyed in the 19th Century and one that was removed last month to have a mold made, will be replaced in the next few weeks with newly created replicas being cast in Bucks County.

Meanwhile in the attic, electrical work is progressing, with all new wiring and boxes installed, and only some detail remaining for the nave lighting fixtures and the attic lighting itself. The permanent vent fans have been installed in the roof as well as permanent access hatches with stairs to allow Victor to get out to the roof for gutter cleaning and other maintenance. We will nail down details for a safety harness system for roof maintenance next week.

The old, yellowed Lexan (plexiglass) has been removed from the stained glass windows under the portico and from the side windows on the wings by the stairwells. The stained glass framing is being painted and -- in a detail that is looking very good -- the steel cross members on the glass are being painted with a lead-colored paint to match the rest of the leading, replacing the old black paint that broke up the windows into obvious sections. An attempt to remove the Lexan from the upper "Saint" stained glass windows revealed some deterioration of those stained glass windows, which leaked badly without the protective coating. The two trial windows are being re-coved with new, perfectly clear Lexan, significantly brightening them from the inside.

Work is still on target for ultimate completion the first week of October.
And while it's too early to predict any savings from budget, the work to date has progress without a single change order.