Cornice Replacement on the Sanctuary Building

Cornice Replacement on the Sanctuary Building

You might remember that Andrew McClellan of McClellan Builders, and a member of Old First, just completed the repair of the gutter system and some roof and chimney flashing on the east side of the Sanctuary Building (over the front patio where the urban garden is). Though the problem and significant damage to the cornice there was obvious, it was not in a location most Old Firsters saw or noticed very often. (The same is not true of our neighbors who live in the residential lofts and condo.s and homes to the east of our property.)

All Andrew had to left to do was repair the cornice where it has been rotted away by water that was not being captured by the gutter system. It was a big gaping hole, but a fairly simple repair.

It was at that point that Andrew pointed out that for a reasonable expense, he might well be able to replace the whole cornice on both the east and west sides of the church. He proposed using a 100% synthetic material that will look like painted wood, but will not rot, is impervious to insects, and does not have to be painted. The materials are far lighter than wood, so that the replacement to the fastening points, which may also be deteriorated, will be much easier. The new cornice can be fashioned to match the existing cornice completely.

The property ministry team was excited that Old First is in a position to begin making visible repairs on work that has been too long deferred. Its only concern was that this material and the work to be done would be acceptable and approved by the city’s historical commission. Our church, because of its historic designation, is required to maintain the exterior of our buildings up to the standards of historical authenticity. All external repairs need to be approved by the historical commission. The historical commission has approved this project, and a building permit will be pulled from Licenses and Inspections.

The cost of this project looks to be between $11,000 and $13,000. We have $8,300 from an earlier insurance reimbursement for water damage to the sanctuary that — with our stronger financial
position — we can now afford to apply to this project. Michael has heard from people in our church who are interested in making restricted contributions towards this project; he believes we can locate enough “angel gifts” to cover the cost of the whole project.

Replacing the peeling, rotted and rusty cornice with one that is clean, white and new is the first major, visible renovation we are able to make to our property. Hopefully an unmissable sign that our days of deferred maintenance are behind us. Think of it as a pat on the back for how much our member giving has grown this year! It well me the most visible difference that can be made in repairing the Sanctuary building. (We also have the windows to redo, but that’s a much bigger ticket item.)

The synthetic soffit components have been ordered and will take a few weeks to be manufactured and delivered. And then there will be the work of installing them. But the sanctuary building should be looking a bit spiffier well before Christmas.

If you are interested in being an angel and making a donation to this project, please speak to Michael or Gerry Woodruffe, our Financial Secretary.