Update on Scaffolding April 2017

Update on Scaffolding – Tiles – Lighting

Enrich – Expand – Grow
Capital Campaign

Dear Parishioners

For some time now I’ve been meaning to give you an update on the first of our capital campaign projects, the new lighting for the church. But then, as luck would have it, the ceiling tile in the church fell last month. Although these are separate issues, they do touch on each other. As a result of the ceiling tile, the Archdiocese hired Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., a company that specializes on the analysis, testing and design of repairs of historic buildings, to do an investigation of the church ceiling. Recently I received their forensic report on the condition of the church ceiling. With this report, I can now give an accurate update on both of these issues.

Besides brighter and more efficient lighting, one of the reasons we decided to replace the lighting in the church had to do with safety. Our maintenance crew has to walk precariously on the steel rails that hold up the plaster ceiling. With the short life span of the halogen lighting we currently have, this means they have to change several bulbs every month. The forensic report on the church ceiling concluded that the cause of the falling and loose tiles is the walking on the ceiling done when replacing the light bulbs. Over the years this has caused vibrations that have loosened some of the tiles’ grip on the plaster. Thankfully, the report recommended a relatively easy method for securing all the loose tiles. And it also concluded that the plaster ceiling is in good shape.

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. was also appraised of our plans to replace the church lighting with new lighting. They recommend that if we were going to continue using lighting in the church at the present location of the fixtures, we needed to construct catwalks to each of the fixtures from the main catwalk that runs down the length of the church. Since the new lighting plans call for an increase of the number of fixtures, that would mean having to construct 20 separate catwalks. It was the consensus of the archdiocese, the lighting designer we had hired, the Facilities Committee and myself to not install the new lighting in the present positions of the light fixtures. Instead, the plan is to cover the present fixtures and install the new fixtures down the center aisle. This will make the fixtures easily accessible for maintenance andrepairs from the present catwalk.

In addition to replacing the down lighting in the nave (seating area) of the church we are looking to replace the alcove lighting as well. The original incandescent bulbs in the alcove were replaced with CFL bulbs when the church was repainted. Since then they have been slowly burning out and are impossible to replace easily. We will also be installing theater lighting to illuminate the sanctuary (altar area), with emphasis on the altar, ambo (pulpit), presider’s chair, reredos (back altar) and the Mary and St. Joseph altars. All of the lighting will be operated with a new dimming and control panel. In the end we will have more lighting in the nave, accentuated lighting in the sanctuary, brighter and more even lighting in the alcove, and programmable and dimmable features.

This week the Facilities Committee and I will be meeting in the church to test the various fixtures that have been recommended for our church. This will give us a hands on sense of their brightness and temperature. Once we are happy with what light fixtures will work best, the lighting design will be sent out for bid. Considering the time this process will take, as well as a 6-8 week turnaround for delivery of the fixtures, the present timeline for the installation of the light fixtures will be sometime in August or September.

Once again, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to our capital campaign, Enrich-Expand-Grow. Your generous gift has allowed for this first of four projects to begin to happen. As donors continue fulfilling their pledges, we will be able to continue on to other projects. If you have not yet made a pledge to Enrich-Expand-Grow, it is not too late! We need your help. You can still participate and help us to achieve our goal. For more information please go to www.saintandrewchicago.com and click on the Enrich-Expand-Grow section found in the middle of the page, or contact Julie Richards at julierichards@saintandrewchicago.com.

Fr. Sergio Romo

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