Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
Last summer, the Building & Grounds Committee determined that the rectory porch was structurally unsound. When the contractors opened the floor boards, they discovered extensive insect and water damage to the infrastructure. A few months later, the parish elevator failed inspection when the NH State inspector discovered that a few years ago a leak in the hydraulic pipes in the elevator shaft had been repaired with glue and electrical tape — needless to say, this constituted the potential for a quite dangerous eventuality. In late January of this year, some of the memorial stained-glass windows in the narthex and the nave began to collapse, which our stained-glass expert attributes to age, gravity, and some questionable repair methods and materials used during past restorations. At this point, the estimate for repairing the memorial windows is $22,800.
With these concerns in mind, I consulted recently with the Parish Finance Council and the Parish Pastoral Council to hear their thoughts about a strategic plan for addressing overall repair needs. It was agreed that rather than taking a band-aid approach to fixing problems haphazardly as they arise, resources would be better invested by conducting a comprehensive structural engineering study of the parish property.
Over the next few weeks, you may spot engineers poking around the parish campus. They are from Alba Architects, LLP, of No. Woodstock, and it’s project partner, Team Engineering. They are conducting a review of the parish’s buildings with respect to architectural and structural integrity. In addition, they will be reviewing the current status of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life safety/fire protections systems, accessibility and energy efficiency systems, to help us understand better the strengths and deficiencies of the church property. When completed, the engineers will identify and prioritize structural issues that need to be addressed, and will provide an estimate of probable costs with respect to proposed construction needs. Their work product will help the parish to plan, as may be needed, any ongoing maintenance, repair, and upgrades; their report will assist the parish to apportion future expenditures in an informed and fiscally-sound manner.
Finally, I am grateful to Alba Architects for their willingness to conduct this study at a generous and modest “at-cost” offer that will be a considerable savings to the parish. St. Joseph’s Parish has stood as a beacon of Catholicity in the White Mountains since 1902 only by the hard work, spiritual, and financial investment of many parishioners who have gone before us. It is our responsibility to preserve the patrimony left to us in their memory.
With prayerful best wishes,
Fr. John Mahoney