Currently we have undertaken a survey to catalogue the next steps and order in which they need to be done and estimate costs. They include lighting, windows, drywall, architectural feature restoration insulation HVAC, painting and floors. If you are skilled in any of these aspects please contact us.
When SCRFI was formed in 1998 it was apparent that the Church of the Immaculate Conception must first be rescued before any restoration could begin. The following paragraphs describe how we have saved this historic building, how we have moved from revival to restoration, and our plans for future restoration.
With the new roof on and the building and the foundation in place the building was stabelized enough to begin restoration of other damaged and neglected parts of the building could begin.
Our Foundation is Finally Fixed! Thanks to Montgomery Structural Lifters and owner Rio Morales, we’re now assured that the building’s foundation is sound on all sides. Rio and his amazing crew of four have worked together on enormous projects and specialize in lifting buildings and even hauling them. For them to also have repaired the wood framing and sills and then poured concrete with specially designed anchor bolts was above and beyond what they normally do. We had been challenged to find a
Onut first needed to remove the damaged plaster and clean the lath.
Removed pieces of original plaster shows the materials and the techniques which were used in the original construction.
Our sanctuary restoration has made the church interior a virtual new icon to share with you. Thanks to Aurel Onut of Byzantine Painting Studio and his sons Andrei and George, we have a magnificent back wall to view upon entering the church. Commonly the first words have been, “Oh, wow!” and “Beautiful!” Aurel was definitely envisioning such a view and truly realized it would inspire further progress for our restoration work. He used authentic old-world Byzant
Aurel Onut artisan plaster restorer has taken on the challenge of restoring the Apse. The apse is the large semicircular recess in the church, with a domed roof, at the eastern end of the building, containing the altar.
Because of the way the bell tower was originally constructed and because portions of it have been open to the weather, there are some areas containing damaged wood that may need to be either repaired or replaced. These structural repairs must be made before any other part of our new project can be accomplished.
The 2018, structural engineering design resulted in construction plans to repair deficiencies in the bell tower. Because this bell tower project is beyond the scope of what can be accomplished by our available volunteers, SCRFI has embarked on a fund-raising plan to raise necessary funds to hire a contractor who is capable to complete the work.
SCRFI enlisted the help of Historicorps, a non profit organization that specializes in restoration of historic structures.
For more information please call Kit Burton at (530) 701-2639 or Kathleen Smith at (916) 838-2757
After the Sacramento Diocese ceased maintenance on the building there were several attempts by local groups to arrest further deterioration. Some work was done prior to the creation of SCRFI, but the efforts could not be sustained.
To the original SCRFI board, the building showed signs of imminent collapse that would make restoration either impossible or, at the least very difficult. Our assessment was that water damage from a leaking roof was the principal problem, but simply constructing a new roof on the existing structure was not so simple. Not only had serious damage occurred to the floor, pews, and interior furnishings, but the east wall of the building had subsided as a result of the water damage to the sill plate and the building was out of plumb.
With the east wall of the church jacked up and the building reasonably level and plumb, bids for a new roof were solicited in 2003. Only one bid was received. After a desperate campaign to obtain funding, a new roof was installed later that year. Then, with the wall still supported by jacks, we started on the foundation.
Prolonged periods of being wet, as a result of a leaking roof, left the timber sill plate and the bottom ends of most of the studs severely rotted along the east wall. The challenge was to install a new sill plate and repair the studs. But, as if that was not enough, the 130-year-old foundation was capable of resisting gravity loads but was judged by geotechnical engineers as being incapable of handling lateral loads from high winds or earthquakes.
After a lot of thought we came up with a scheme to utilize the existing rock wall foundation to carry the weight of the building. A new reinforced concrete beam would replace the rotted sill plate and would transfer lateral loads to the corners of the building. New timber would be spliced onto the existing studs and securely attached to the top of the new concrete beam. This solution was not expensive and, best of all, could be accomplished in short (20-foot long) sections.
By the summer of last 2006 we had installed two 20-foot sections of the concrete beam, with Stewart Smith and Rodney Ivie doing most of the work, but we were unable to continue doing the work ourselves. And until the foundation was finished, Rice Brothers House Movers would not be able to remove their jacks and cribbing to use on other projects. Joe Rice, always patient and helpful, suggested we call Ted Holmes, a Yuba City contractor.
Fortunately Ted was able to find some time between his other jobs to help us finish the foundation on the entire east wall. With the jacks and cribbing removed the building was once again resting on its foundation. Rodney Ivie and Steve Winchell finished the stud re-attachments and replaced the east wall siding.
The next project was the bell tower foundation. We again had Rice Brothers jack up another wall, this time, the front, or south, wall along with the attached bell tower. We then poured a new cast-in-place concrete foundation for the bell tower, replacing the original bell tower foundation of rocks. While the south wall was jacked up we replaced the timber mud sill with a concrete grade beam as we had done on the east wall. At this point we had finished with the important work on the “rescue” phase and we could start on the “restoration” phase.
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