Parish Center Renovation

What, Exactly, is the Project?

THE PROBLEM: Toward the end of 2013, we became aware that the Parish Center had significant structural problems. The roof trusses had been poorly designed, and more than 100 years later, the roof was sagging and pushing the walls out. That, in turn, was causing the 2nd floor to sag. A structural engineer restricted use of the Parish Hall to no more than 20 people until we put in a temporary brace.

SCOPE: Our initial hopes for a purely structural (i.e. cheaper) repair were not possible because rebuilding the roof was a big enough renovation that we would be required to bring the building into compliance with current fire safety codes. This meant we would need to replace the interior stairwell and improve emergency way-finding, impacting all levels of the building. Looking at it positively, this created an opportunity to improve and reorganize all of our interior spaces.

SOLUTION: The entire second floor of the building is being removed and re-built. A fire-rated stairwell, in addition to bringing us up to code, will finally make it possible to access the basement from inside the building. The chancel, sacristy, and counting room will be reconfigured, making the chapel more intimate and providing stair-free access to the communion rail.

Renovation Schedule: How Long will it Take?

We started about six weeks late because of a permitting delay caused by the retirement of the State Fire Marshall. Since then, the project has been running on schedule. If we are able to stay on schedule, this is the timeline we will follow:
  • Start demolition end of June
  • Begin structural repair work late July, beginning in basement and working up to the point of roof removal
  • Remove the existing roof structure early August
  • Replace roof structure mid-August
  • New roofing, siding, and windows, September
  • Interior finishes, paint, and flooring, October & November
  • Clean up and move in, December

How Much Will it Cost, and How are we Paying?

The total project cost is $723,000. We are extremely grateful for both of our sources of funding:
  • For every person who donated to the Capital Campaign, making it possible for us to raise $500,000.
  • For the Centennial Trustees, who have given a total of $223,000 - possibly their most generous grant to the parish, to date.

Who We're Working With
  • Albert Putnam Associates, Structural Engineers
  • Fraser Associates Architects
  • E. L. Shea, Inc. Builders and Engineers
  • LARK Studio Landscape Architecture
Photo Gallery

The empty chapel, before construction.

The chapel during construction. The pews are protected, and temporary bracing has been installed to support the second floor while the contractors mess with the columns. This shot is taken peeking through the (removed) stained glass window from the counting room.

The empty chancel, before construction.

Preliminary demolition in the chancel: that step you can see starting next to the door is where the new back wall will be built.

Further progress in the chancel: the old back wall has been removed, and the new back wall has been framed in.

The jacks you can see in these pictures were used over the course of several weeks to slowly lift the sagging second floor back into proper position.

Here you can see the cut out for the door to the new rear hallway.

Here's a rare view of the newly cut doorway, looking across the chancel from the organ room. (This view will be blocked once the new wall is built.) You can see the old stairway through the door.

Speaking of new doors, here's the one that's been cut into our basement. This is where the new stairwell will exit the building.

This was concrete day. It was pumped into the basement to create new supports for the walls that will transfer the load of the roof down into the basement. They also poured a new base for the stairwell.

Getting the concrete pump in between the building and the tree was not easy. They were very patient about saving our tree!

Newly poured foundation supports underneath the chapel.

The Parish Hall, before...

The Parish Hall - looking in the same direction, a few weeks later. The plaster is partially removed from the ceiling. Those mounds of fluff you see piled everywhere are the blown-in insulation, which has been meticulously shoveled out.

The Parish Hall, before...

The Parish Hall - looking in the same direction, a few weeks later. At this point, all of the plaster and most of the insulation have been removed.

This shot is taken standing in the church school area, looking toward what used to be the pantry, closets, and kitchen. The windows on the left used to be in the old pantry. The white door on the right is the entrance from the stairs.

Digging up little traces of the past...

Roof removal: the first cut!

The first chunk is out.

The view from inside after the first section has been removed.

The interior as further progress is made. The end wall will stay in place, and will remain temporarily braced until the new side walls and roof are installed.

A view from the other side as more progress is made. Note the sunlight shining through the front window!

The crane, lifting a section of roof to the ground.

Some men on the ground cut the removed roof into smaller pieces for disposal, while men up in the lift prepare to remove the next section.

A peek through the door at the top of the steps, on day 3. The roof is almost completely gone!

A last shot of the building with the kitchen walls still in place

The building with walls and roof completely removed

Standing in the Parish Hall, facing the kitchen shortly before its walls are removed. (That's the Medical Center on the left.)

Standing in the Parish Hall, kitchen walls removed.

A church without walls: Standing at the top of the steps, looking over the Medical Center parking lot.

The new walls begin to go up.

A larger shot of the new wall.

Our oversized load of roof trusses,backing into the Medical Center parking lot.

The trusses, unloaded and stacked in order for installation.

The crane lifts one of the first trusses up to waiting carpenters for installation.

Further progress.

After day 1 of truss installation, it's beginning to look like a church again!

The view from "inside" after day 1.

Day 2: installation of cross gables.

The view from "inside" after day 2.

One of the challenges of this project has been keeping the rain out when there is no roof. Here, you can see some of the plastic the contractors had to put up every night to keep us dry.

Here, they are beginning to cover the framed roof with plywood sheathing.

Beginning to look like a roof, again!

Sheathing almost complete, and a new canopy over the fire stairs.

And the sheathing is done!

Meanwhile, on the inside, new windows have arrived, and are waiting to be installed.

Do you recognize this area? This photo is taken standing in the old counting room, looking at where the stairwell used to be. The door is that little, secret back entrance to the rector's office.

Another shot of the removed stairway. Climbing that scaffold is the only way to get to the second floor. (And your rector may just have done that a few times!)
The Parish of St. Mary and St. Jude
P.O. Box 105, Northeast Harbor, Maine 04662 Tel: 207.276.5588 Fax: 207.276.3220   E-mail: