Monthly Archives: August 2014

Like it’s always been here

Everyone is talking about it: the construction fencing is down and here we are!  A stroll down Franklin Street reveals a lovingly designed and carefully constructed addition that fulfills our growing needs and enhances our historic worship spaces.  Church, chapel, and parish hall are gracefully set back to embrace the site and welcome all who approach.

Hartman-Cox architects designed the new building to reflect our long history, to last for another 150 years, and to defer to the church and the chapel.  The attention to detail is spectacular; the refurbishment of tired old spaces most welcome. The result is a building that looks like it’s always been here.

Without question, this building will enable us to initiate a new era through the goals of the original and visionary master plan:

  • Create an ambience of gracious welcome that conveys hospitality, a sense of place, and a spiritual home
  • Maintain a strong connection to the campus and the community
  • Provide a physical plant that is safe and secure, with clear circulation and functional organization
  • Foster our stewardship of our extraordinary buildings

The human scale of the new parish hall goes back to the very human scale of our parish.  We’ve always been here.  And we look forward to being here for a long time to come.

You are here.  As autumn begins and we return to our full service schedule, open our new building, and begin a new era of worship and ministry, watch for ways to get oriented physically and grounded spiritually in our new home.  We are preparing maps and signs, planning gatherings large and small, and highlighting the involvement of diverse and varied parishioners in the work of the Chapel of the Cross.

Come to one of the five services on September 7,  participate in the Outreach and Engagement Fair on September 28, and celebrate the dedication of the building on October 5.  Begin to discern how you will be present at the Chapel of the Cross and what your gifts will be as we live into our legacy.

This fall we will also open the 2015 annual fund campaign, You Are Here.  The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Just a few weeks remain in 2014 — is your Spirit at Work pledge up to date?

Walker Mabe

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Getting Close

The approach to any public building is almost as important as the building itself.  Our hardscape is taking shape — the brick walls around the handicap access ramp, topped by limestone, and the broad expanse of brick pavers leading to our “open door.” 

 

The parking lot is at long last almost ready for paving.  The civil site work has included layers of one-inch by one-inch mesh “fabric” alternated with eight-inch layers of dark gray ABC stone.  (ABC refers to the three differing sizes of stone used in the mix, although I think “already been crushed” fits too.)

 

The fabric adheres to the substrate but the mesh is small enough that it will not flex.  The workers put water on each layer, and the stone hardens into a kind of crust.  In this way we remediate the unsuitable soils — too much organic matter — that have troubled our parking lot in the past.

 

We will all be glad to see the pavement once it goes down, but patience is still in order: the asphalt will need time to cure to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. The gates will be closed and locked until the pavement is ready to hold us — even foot traffic.

 

Next week we are promised a convergence of trades as we focus on completing work to pass final inspections.  Each day as I walk around the building, different workers offer up the same comment, “It’s getting close.”  We all hope so!

 

We are getting close to our goals for the capital campaign. Our focus now is lowering the amount we have to borrow, because everything we borrow now has to be paid back with interest later.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift, or pledge payment to the capital campaign.  And plan to join Bishop Curry for the building dedication October 5 at 6 pm!

 

If you are returning to town after summer vacation, remember your annual fund pledge. The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Click here to support the annual fund and the work of the church at the Chapel of the Cross.  

Walker Mabe

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Final Finishes

The concrete is dry enough to apply the final finishes — at least on the first, second, and third floors.  The weather and a bunch of dehumidifiers combined have made it  possible to paint, lay tile, add wooden cabinetry, and install carpet.  The workers are beginning on the third floor and working their way down.  The photo at right is the newly tiled youth room on the third floor.  Meanwhile, all seven dehumidifiers have been moved to the ground floor so that we can proceed to that area as soon as possible.

 Outside, final finish work is underway as well.  Brick pavers have been laid on the terrace overlooking the arboretum, where the original stone wall has been reconstructed using the old stone and historically appropriate dry stack methods.  New stone walls have been erected elsewhere to match, albeit with newer, mortared-in rocks.  Brick pavers are also being used to create a gracious and welcoming entrance leading to the main doors.

Sleek and handsome curbs and gutters have been installed all around the parking lot and on the inner loop of the circle driveway.  This removes the lurking stone wall that had been hit by so many parishioner  and visitor vehicles  and widens the driveway for better maneuverability.  The wall was retained around the rose beds; the memorial plaque will be affixed to the wall elsewhere.  We will adjust the landscaping on the garden side of the curb and gutter and repave the circle to even out the landscape there.  In the meantime, watch out as you walk in that area!

Workers are applying the rubber finish to the playground in two layers: a two-inch thick section followed by a one-inch thick top coat.  Both layers are bouncy and flexible and allow for water to drain through to the drainage system below.  The thickness of the surface is directly calculated to the height of the playground equipment to protect little clamberers

With excellent cooperation from the University, we were able to bury the communications cable that runs alongside Spencer dorm to serve our building, before the official student move-in day.  Our own student residents should be able to take possession of their new quarters in the next week or so. 

We are coming to the final finish of our capital campaign, and there is still time. Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign.  And plan to join Bishop Curry for the building dedication October 5 at 6 pm!

If you are returning to town after summer vacation, remember your annual fund pledge. The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Click here to support the annual fund and the work of the church at the Chapel of the Cross.  

Walker Mabe

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Looking up

When you walk into our fellowship hall, you can’t help but look up.  And when you do, please notice the innovative new ceiling system, one of the first of its kind installed by our contractors.  The system features two-by-ten-foot acoustical panels that will prevent the sound from rebounding when groups of us are talking, singing, eating, or performing.  The ceiling holds our state of the art projector and screen, both of which lower when we want to use them and disappear otherwise.  The speakers for our AV system are also in the ceiling, along with special can lights.

Ceilings are being installed all over the new building, now that we have passed inspections on the above-ceiling systems: electrical, telecom, sprinkler, and fire alarms.  The sweet smell of sheetrock mud and paint — sweet because they signal completion — compete with the more acrid smells and flying sparks of bandsaws cutting through metal.

The heavy duty rubber linoleum floor in the kitchen is down and the new stove, refrigerator, food warmer, pot racks, and stainless steel sinks and counters have arrived.  The new equipment will be joined by our old ice maker, dishwasher, freezers, and butcher block counters.  Workers are installing wood cabinetry in the classrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms, and adding wood trim everywhere.

We are finally making perceivable progress on the site, with brick walls, stone walls, concrete ramps, and pavers sprouting suddenly like wildflowers after a rain.  Bobcats are carving the shape of the parking lot out of the dirt; it won’t be long until it’s paved.  Inside, the concrete is getting drier.

Things are looking up.  Thank you for all you are doing to help with this final push. We continue to rely on your prompt or accelerated payment of pledges, your new or additional contributions, and your prayers and moral support.  Any cash advances now reduce what we have to borrow, resulting in lower interest payments down the road.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign.  And plan to join Bishop Curry for the building dedication October 5 at 6 pm!

If you are returning to town after summer vacation, remember your annual fund pledge!.  The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Click here to support the annual fund and the work of the church at the Chapel of the Cross.

Walker Mabe

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Do not remove

Raleigh Times columnist Dennis Rogers used to say that the North Carolina state motto, Esse Quam Videri, was Latin for “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

As we approach the last weeks of the project, the humidity has thrown us a real curve ball:  the concrete floors of the building are taking a very long time to dry out.  We have acres of floor tile to lay down (only a  slight exaggeration) and the adhesive coating requires that the concrete have a specific moisture content for it to stick.  The last thing we want is for tiles to start popping up because the bond has failed.

So, we’ve brought big blue dehumidifiers for each floor.  Fans are running around the clock.  And sprinkled around the concrete are little orange buttons that say “Do not remove.” Each button covers a hole that houses a computer chip that measures the moisture content of the five-inch-thick floor.  The floor coating requires 80 percent or lower moisture content and we are measuring in the 90s.  With the rain we are currently having, it could take into next week to dry the floors out.  Once we meet the required level of dryness, it will take two full weeks to lay the tile.

So, we are readjusting our expectations for the dedication and parish barbecue and trying to stay flexible as we schedule events and the opening of the building.  We’ve moved back moving day, again.

There is no rushing the end of a project, particularly where our beautiful and fine finishes are concerned.  In just a month or so, we will be where we only dreamed of being just a year ago.

To be, rather than to seem. Just as our timeline is lengthening, unforeseen costs are increasing, especially for work that we desperately needed to do in the old part of the building.  We continue to rely on your prompt or accelerated payment of pledges, your new or additional contributions, and your prayers and moral support.  Any cash advances now reduce what he have to borrow, resulting in lower interest payments down the road.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign.
Walker Mabe

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Filed under Building Update