Sunday Sharing 7.28.19
The last update to our facilities was given during a February Sunday sharing. During these last several months, the parish continued its plan to update our facilities. Particularly during these summer months when rest and relaxation are on the forefront of many minds, the parish is in the complete opposite mode. At times, the parish had seven different contractors and companies on campus simultaneously working on different projects.
Some quick updates to old projects:
THE SIX CONDENSATION PUMP STATIONS MENTIONED LAST YEAR WERE REPLACED:
These new condensation pump stations will not only help our parish be more energy efficient, but will also help to extend the life expectancy of our boilers already on borrowed time. In addition to the replacement of these stations, there was extensive replacement of several pneumatic flanged valves, actuators and flanged isolation valves throughout the campus. A lot of re-piping was also required.
IN ADDITION TO THE EXTENSIVE TUNNEL RE-PIPING, THE LONG THICK STEAM PIPE RUNNING FROM THE BOILER ROOM THROUGH THE CONVENT TO THE SCHOOL WAS RECENTLY REPLACED.
This was completed after some additional asbestos abatement took place this spring. This new sleeve will lessen the curves and shorten the distance of this pipe from point A to point B. The end result will mean higher energy efficiency of natural gas, electricity and water consumption. This entire project comes with a $323,696 price tag and was funded by your generosity to Forward in Our Faith. This was the last of the work slated for Phase II of the campaign.
So what is the parish working on now?
Once school let out in June, the parish quickly moved on campus-wide projects. The following is a list of the current projects. We hope that many of these projects will be completed prior to the start of the school year.
DURING THE COMPLETION OF THE CONVENT TUCKPOINTING AND LINTEL REPLACEMENT, MANY OF THE GLASS BLOCK WINDOWS WERE BROKEN OR LOOSE.
These windows are being replaced with ones similar to those that were installed on the school building on Leavitt. Only the glass block windows on the convent are being replaced, not all the windows. It will protect the basement level of the convent and give a fresh clean look to the second and third floor of the west end.
THE PARISH RECENTLY BEGAN A LANDSCAPING PROJECT AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE CAMPUS, GIVING IT A FRESH LOOK.
Tree removal took place along the Ackerman Center since they were creating issues with the building including sewer blockage. Many of the bushes along Leavitt Street and Bell Avenue were dead. The overgrown landscaping along the church on Leavitt by a variety of mixed plants needed some additional help. Our parish worked closely with Anne Hunt to ensure that important trees and plants were protected. Anne and her team of gardeners have done a great deal of work over the years for which the parish is very grateful. Week-after-week, they spend time to beautify the grounds which are so visible to the public eye. They have personally provided many bushes, flowers and other plants to enhance the area by the church including the peaceful courtyard in between the rectory and the church. In planning a landscape re-design, the parish made sure that all of the Garden Club’s wishes were kept, and the parish asked how this project could be of help to them as they continue their important ministry. You will notice that some areas are a blank landscape. The parish is looking at ways to make these garden areas useful for our students and made education-friendly.
FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, THE ELECTRICAL POWER IN THE SCHOOL BUILDING ON LEAVITT HAS BEEN OF GREAT CONCERN.
As the school added classroom window air-conditioners, installed more digital classroom technology including projectors and interactive whiteboards, and one-to-one student device charging stations, our electrical panels and breakers have been put to the test. The parish has been in contact with ComEd about upgrading the transformer in the courtyard for expansion of our electrical capacity. The new transformer will provide the power for most of the school building with the exception of the building and gymnasium on Bell Avenue. At right is a picture of the trench containing new pipes for the new electrical feed for the school building on Leavitt. This newly designed transformer will have enough capacity for future electrical necessities including air-conditioning the school building and increased technology. The next phase of replacing the electrical panel dating back to the 1950s (see picture) in the basement of the gym that feeds the rest of the campus will be addressed in the next year. Because of the transformer replacement, the air conditioning project for parts of the school building on Leavitt, initially slated for this summer, was postponed. The parish needed to take some time to assess its needs more carefully and re-evaluate the best plan of action for a proper installation. It is our hope that the project will be completed in the summer of 2020 after spending the next few months planning and soliciting bids. Stay tuned for more information on this project.
THE COURTYARD RECESSED WALLS OF THE SCHOOL BUILDING (FACING WEST) ARE CURRENTLY BEING TUCK POINTED.
There were large sections of the wall missing mortar. The brick; however, is in very good shape. Many years ago, the bathroom glass block windows were replaced with unmatched brick. Over the years, the iron in the brick really made it stand out. These bricks are now replaced with brick from another wall that matches the brick exactly. This will give the wall a fresh clean look. This work will also protect the building from water infiltration.
BEGINNING IN A FEW WEEKS, THE STORAGE AREA BEHIND THE CONVENT WILL UNDERGO A MAKEOVER.
The existing unused ramp is deteriorated and unsafe for use. This area is also underutilized. The area will be excavated, the ramp will be removed, and a new concrete pad will be poured covering about 1,100 square feet of space. The new pad will be used to house the parish bus, the parish van and the girl scout and boy scout trailers. This will open up the courtyard for recess and provide more safety when parish vehicles need to leave during the day. The new concrete pad will also provide a barrier for our infamous city rodents. Once completed, the entire courtyard will be sealed with no open or exposed ground.
Our maintenance and technology departments have been working hard on two newly renovated spaces: THE GLOBAL LEARNING LAB (FUNDED BY THE HOME SCHOOL ASSOCIATION) AND KITTLER HALL UPGRADES. The technology for Kittler Hall was funded by the Gala’s “Fund-a-Need.” Asbestos abatement and other infrastructure upgrades are also being made. Watch for more details on these two exciting projects in the near future.
So, what’s on the docket for this fall?
>> Obtain an engineering report on the front steps of the church, with the goal of resetting and sealing them, deterring water from entering into the church basement causing the plaster wall to buckle. The parish is also looking at refinishing the doors of the church that have been weathered over the years.
>> As mentioned, the air-conditioning project for the school building on Leavitt is on hold. The parish is going to reassess this project for a summer 2020 installation.
>> To match other areas of the campus, the parish hopes to replace the courtyard gym doors for both functionality and safety reasons.
The project list changes and continues to grow every month with an aging campus. The parish is doing the best that it can with the personnel and the resources that it has to protect and update the infrastructure of our entire campus. As I do with every facilities update, I cannot stress enough that our parish is extremely fortunate to have an active facilities committee to help the parish administration make sound decisions with the long-term vision of our parish in mind. With their help and our dedicated and qualified parish maintenance staff, the parish administration is able to make sound decisions that will keep St. Ben’s running for generations to come.
The completion of these projects is made possible by your generosity and stewardship to the parish.
This month, the five-year capital campaign Forward in Our Faith begins its final year. If you have not had the opportunity to make a gift to the capital campaign, I encourage you to pray about it and speak with Fr. Steve or myself about making a pledge or a gift to the campaign. Pledges and donations are continually accepted and gratefully received. 100% of the second collection on the third Sunday of every month goes to the Forward in Our Faith efforts. Gifts can also be made online at www.GiveCentral.org or through a direct link on our parish website. Thank you for your past, present and future generosity to the parish in so many ways. More importantly, pray for those who work so hard to keep our buildings in great shape.