Week 9: The framing is getting its skin! The two angel windows are cleaned and have new glass storm windows and are back in place. The shape of the front façade is complete. They are working on the 9 curved supports for the arched plaster ceiling inside the vestibule.
Week 8: The framing (with some added support and new support beams) is complete and the next inspection is Tuesday. The drama came on Thursday when Wald cut his fingertip with an electric saw. He got six stiches and came back to work for the afternoon saying, “My blood is in this holy place!”
Week 7: The framing for the new vestibule began and we can see it taking shape. We encountered some issues balancing the width of the stairs up to the church, which need to accommodate a casket and pall bearers, and the width of the stairs going down to the Parish Hall, which needs to meet code. Thanks to project managers Tom Camell and Bruce Yeager, our contractor Waldemar Dyjewski, and our architect Michael McAtee, for wrestling with the problem and finding a solution! Future Pall bearers may need to pass a fitness test!
Week 6: This week the architect delivered new drawings for the support beams. Concrete work was done to provide new footings. The outline of the lift location is now visible. The first studs went up and the openings for the lift are in place. This week’s hiccup was discovering that the stair railings are 4 5/8 inches apart; Chicago building code requires no more than 4 inches. Thanks to the architect and lift team for solving this problem so that we can keep the old railings and adjust them to fit the code.
Week 5: Construction Delay. It was bound to happen, and this week it did. Our contractor discovered a problem! In 1924 when the vestibule was added to the front of the 1888 church structure, the supporting beam under the west wall was cut in two places and moved east, resting on the walls of the closet which we have removed. So in came the architect and the structural engineer and a solution to shore up the beam! This will mean added time (2 weeks) and cost. But we expected surprises, and we are glad to know our foundation will be stronger because of this discovery!
Week 4: The new foundation is poured. We have a new sidewalk, with a slight slope and no stairs! While that sets Wald works on refinishing the front doors. He replaces the rotting wood and strips away 9 layers of red paint.
Meanwhile inside the church: Here is the view from inside the parish hall and the sanctuary. Trying to keep the dust out!
Week 3: The entire vestibule is removed and a ton of dirt is removed. New footings are laid for the new foundation. Lots of dust and dirt! The basement floor has to be dug three inches deeper to make room for the lift mechanics.
Week 2: All the historical details we want to preserve are carefully removed and stored. Then all the stucco comes down. We find two colonies of ants and other creepy crawlies that will have to find new homes. Then the inside plaster comes down. The electricity is turned off, and down come the walls! Finally, a stained glass specialists takes out the two angel windows for restoring.
Week 1: Bushes were removed and three protective coverings were built, on the outside front, inside the Sanctuary, and inside the Parish Hall. The dumpster arrived and the sidewalk and steps were demolished.
Work has begun to modify our vestibule and install a lift for accessibility. Don’t worry, all our historic details will be preserved.