In late 2018, the vestry created the special St. David’s Building Committee (distinct from the standing Property Committee) to oversee the renovation of the Historic Church, as well as repairs in Bethell Hall and other parts of our campus. The committee is stewarding the $5 million-plus pledged through the “It’s Our Turn” capital campaign with vestry oversight. The 25 committee members provide a broad representation of the parish and in 2019 delegated day-to-day oversight of the project to a building executive committee: Jim Lamm (parish administrator), Eric Leibrock, Allison Marshall, and John Volz.
Capital Campaign Timeline
- January 2019: Capital Campaign raised $5.2M
- March 2021: Lobby elevator upgraded
- October 2021: Church bell hammer removed for re-forging
- April 2022: 95% of construction documents completed
- May 2022: Building renovation plans submitted to the City for permitting.
- Submitted application for approval of the work with the Texas Historical Commission
- Bethell Floor refinished
- June 2022: Preparing building for renovation work
- August 2022: Renovation work begins
- July 2023: Estimated end time for renovation work
- Building Committee Update
The photo “Removed stucco” shows the removal in progress of the exterior stucco on the only church wall remaining from the 1850’s. This section will require 100% stucco replacement to fortify the “rubble” wall beneath. Other wall portions farther to the right have stone or brick underneath, from the 1870’s addition, and should require less-extensive repair. Also visible is the 1999 work to reinforce the limestone buttresses.
- Building Committee Update
Scaffolding is complete and plywood has been installed to cover the Historic Church stained-glass windows. One section of exterior stucco has been removed from the West Wall and mockups prepared to assure the proper mix for the new stucco. Inside, the subfloor repair is complete, and electrical demolition has begun, including removing the chandeliers for restoration. These will later be reinstalled in adjusted positions that stop them from colliding with the structural ties across the nave. In Bethell Hall, work continues to install new windows throughout.
- Building Update
During the last two weeks, SpawGlass has continued replacing damaged sections of the subfloor in the Historic Church. The old finished floor has all been removed, with some pieces salvaged for re-installation in the chancel area. The early 1900’s flooring had aged to a distinct red-orange hue. When it was new, it would have looked more like the natural-toned samples being considered by our architects, Ford, Powell, & Carson. We will be using new oak flooring material as nearly like the old as possible.
What’s next: scaffolding is beginning to go up around the Bethell Hall addition, in preparation for replacement of the fogged worship space windows, work planned to go forward on weekdays without disturbing Sunday worship.
Exterior storm windows on the Historic Church will be removed and protection put in place for the stained-glass windows. Exterior work to replace the stucco on the west wall will then begin, to be done in successive five-foot vertical sections. The original rubble wall will be reinforced with a metal mesh system beneath the restored stucco. Our historic designations require the rebuilt exterior to look exactly like the old.
- Historic Church Renovation Update
Church furnishings including the old organ console have been removed, and scaffolding has gone up all around the Historic Church. The triptych paintings above the altar have been put in safekeeping pending their restoration. SpawGlass, our contractor, will number all the pews before removing them so they go back to their proper places at the end of construction. The memorial wall plaques will be removed, and other critical components will be protected in place. The windows will be completely covered for protection until some are restored. In Grace Chapel and its vestibules, the furnishings have been taken out, and the worn red carpet is gone. The first day of demolition revealed historic tile under the old carpet at the south double doors!
- Aug. 7 | Last Sunday in Historic Church Before Construction Begins
Church Services on Sunday, Aug. 7
- 8 a.m. Historic Church
- 9 a.m. Historic Church and Bethell Hall
- 11:15 a.m. Historic Church. We will celebrate Dr. David Stevens’ ministry with service music written by David and favorite anthems specially chosen by him and sung by current and former St. David’s choir members. Lunch will follow in Sumners Hall.
- 8 p.m. This last Compline service will be the culmination of more than 30 years of this service being led by David. Please join us as we give thanks for David’s long and fruitful ministry with us!
- Building Update
Update on ongoing work that is part of the “It’s Our Time” capital campaign. Our building renovation plans have been submitted to the City for permitting. In addition, we have submitted an application for approval of the work with the Texas Historical Commission as the church is a National and State Historical Landmark.
Bethell Hall’s cork floor was sanded and resealed through the weekend of May 15. Worship services were not impacted on Sunday because the usual 9 and 11:15 services were combined for an outdoor Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. on Ministry Sunday.
Construction in the Historic Church is slated to begin in mid to late August.
- Building Committee Report
March 2, 2022
Since our report to the Annual Parish Meeting in January, the building committee has received more-detailed scheduling guidance from our architect, Ford Powell Carson (FPC), and contractor, SpawGlass. They have offered a new timeline for the building-permit process. In short, instead of a May 2022 start to construction, we are looking at a window of June 5 to August 16 for a construction start date.
Our construction drawings from FPC were completed to the 95% stage last week. These are now being submitted to the City of Austin for building permitting and to the COA Landmark Commission and the Texas Historical Commission for their approval. The city’s process takes nine weeks or longer (four to six additional weeks) as we may be required to re-submit the permit application to respond to subsequent questions from the city. Once the building permit is issued, SpawGlass will get final bids and execute contracts with their subcontractors (also four to six weeks). Finally, we will amend our SpawGlass (SG) contract to include their guaranteed maximum price, and construction can begin. SG estimates the project will take nine months to complete.
The Bethell Hall floor refinishing will now be done by the church to allow more flexibility so the work can be completed before moving worship services from the Historic Church to Bethell. This will also remove the SG supervisory costs. Replacement of the Bethell windows will be done from outside, on weekdays, with very little work required on the interior. This will allow Sunday services in Bethell to continue as the fogged glass is gradually replaced.
The latest price estimate from SG is about $500,000 higher than the last. The change is partially due to items inadvertently omitted from previous estimates (electrical and lighting equipment, scaffolding, additional steel beams, weather-delay contingency). Some items went down, some went up, so it’s difficult to zero-in on the “why.” Part of the increase can be ameliorated by reducing the contractor’s contingency amount, a solution approved by both FPC and SG.
We are considering strategies to lessen the impact from current world situations (war, supply chain issues, inflation). Once the completed design is approved by the church, SG and their subcontractors can begin pre-ordering components that are most susceptible to price increases (lighting fixtures, audiovisual equipment, mechanical equipment).
For additional information, contact Eric Leibrock, building committee chair,
- Historic Church Bell Repair
Last Wednesday, Oct. 6, parts of the St. David’s Episcopal Church bell were removed and sent to Cincinnati to have replacement parts fabricated.
Verdin Bells removed the clapper and rope wheel from the bell and will be inoperable until the parts are replaced in 2022. The planned bell maintenance and 1914 bell tower repairs are part of the multi-million dollar renovation project of the downtown historic church. See an article about the 1981 bell update.
Our rector, Father Chuck said of the bell’s repair, “We will miss the sound of our bell, but as stewards of this historic church, we know it is an important part of the renovation process. We look forward to the return of the bell’s toll, calling people to worship in downtown Austin as it has been doing for so long.”
We welcome donations to preserve the historic church bell, helping our church stay a light on the hill in downtown Austin! To make a donation online add ‘capital campaign’ to the donation notes.
Verdin Bells removed the clapper and rope wheel from the bell.
- Building Committee Update
January 31, 2021
Some good news received mid-January 2021: needed structural repairs to the Historic Church are not as dire as initially thought. The reduced scope of the anticipated structural work may free up more of our budget for some of the many additional items on our wish list. Our architects, Ford, Powell, & Carson (FPC), are working with our contractor, SpawGlass, to finalize cost estimates and to provide a final list of items to be included in Phase One of the work. Next, FPC will produce working drawings for Phase One which SpawGlass will agree to execute for a guaranteed maximum price. We currently expect to begin construction in mid-2021.
FPC is also finalizing a phased preservation master plan for the church to be used going forward. The current 600-page draft version of the plan contains comprehensive assessments of all the church buildings by specialists in every construction category.
Our structural consultant, Architectural Engineers Collaborative, reported that previous stabilization work (tie rods across the nave, exterior diagonal pipe braces on the east wall) is doing its job. After extensive modelling of various solutions, the emerging plan is to provide additional connections between the walls and roof at the north end of the church that will allow removal of the exterior braces, while retaining the interior tie rods.
The consultants found that almost all the visible wall cracks are limited to the surface stucco and are not present in the underlying structural masonry walls. All the stucco cracks will be repaired. The problematic west wall will probably be repaired by removing all the surface plaster inside and out and sandwiching the original rubble wall in stainless steel mesh before replacing the stucco. The work would be done in successive wall sections to maintain stability.
In 2018, the vestry created the special St. David’s building committee (distinct from the standing property committee) to oversee the renovation of the Historic Church, as well as repairs in Bethell Hall and other parts of our campus. With vestry oversight, the committee is stewarding the $5 million-plus pledged through the “It’s Our Turn” capital campaign. The 27 committee members provide a broad representation of the parish and have delegated day-to-day oversight of the project to a building executive committee: Jim Lamm, parish administrator, Eric Leibrock, Allison Marshall, and John Volz.
Representing the parish as “owner,” it remains our building committee’s mission to make sure our money is well spent. We ask parishioners for patience and cooperation during this long and painstaking process, significantly delayed by the pandemic. For more information, please contact Eric Leibrock, building committee chair: .
- Elevator Update
The elevator modernization of the main lobby elevator is nearing completion. There have been some delays due to incorrect parts being shipped and having to re-order. However, the elevator should be completed in the next few weeks. Final connections will also need to be completed by the fire alarm company and the emergency elevator phone company. Once the modernization work is completed, Facilities Manager Michael Holder will install new tile flooring. He will also install new flooring in the existing East elevator to spruce that elevator up as well.
Photo: St. David’s sexton Maril White decorated the building’s East elevator, closest to the labyrinth. Maril said he wants to start a new tradition!