Replacing roof just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ for church repairs

The first stage of the intensive restoration endeavour for Red Deer’s oldest church is coming to a close.

The first stage of the intensive restoration endeavour for Red Deer’s oldest church is coming to a close.

The roof of St. Luke’s Anglican Church has been finished after just over a week of work, with the last shingle hammered into place on July 3.

However, it’s only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to preserving the 114-year-old building, said Rev. Noel Wygiera.

“We’ve still got about $300,000 worth of work to do under the roof,” he said.

In addition to a new roof, construction crews removed an old chimney recently as the heat from it was damaging the already severely degraded sandstone.

To replace the chimney, high-efficiency furnaces were installed on Thursday and Friday, said Wygiera, adding up to another several thousand dollars.

To raise funds for the $30,000 roof work, the church launched its Raise the Roof campaign back in March, where residents were asked to make a donation towards the purchase of a package of shingles.

To date, approximately $13,000 has been raised through the public appeal, said Wygiera as well as $24,000 raised internally.

“It’s great. We exceeded our goal for the roof, so there was enough for the chimney and furnaces,” he said.

Wygiera didn’t know how much money from the campaign was left but he said he didn’t believe it was much. Whatever is remaining will be carried forward to the next phase of preservation work, such as repairing the mortar and sandstone walls and settling of the foundation, he said.

The church will be applying for provincial grants to help cover up to 50 per cent of the rest of the costs, meaning they will still have to fundraise for about $150,000.

“So the campaign is ongoing; I’ll just have to change the name of it,” Wygiera said.

“We have been very encouraged by the support we have received from the wider community and we hope that it’ll continue.”

Wygiera does not know when the next stage of restoration will kickoff. He said it all depends on when there is money in the bank.

The sandstone, a material susceptible to the harsh elements, was last restored in 1978, after the province designated the church, located at 4929 54th St, a provincial historic site.

To donate to the project, call 403-346-3402 or email office@oldchurchrd.com.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

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