Restoration Update

pulpitHere’s the latest on Saint Thomas’ on-going restoration and recovery from the damage done by Hurricane Harvey.

As you know, we’ve engaged the architectural firm of Merriman Holt Powell (MHP) to assist us in developing a master plan for the entire campus for both church and school. In a separate, but related, project, they are creating a plan for the restoration of the church interior. The rector and vestry also appointed a committee of parishioners to oversee the project. The chair of the committee is Bill Wescott.

We held a church-focused town hall with MHP after church a couple of Sundays ago, and have received quite a bit of feedback from many of you on what you’d like to see us focus on as we proceed.

MHP is now working to develop a set of alternative design studies for the church renovation, incorporating many of your thoughts and ideas. Key objectives of the plan are to maintain and enhance the beauty of our church and to develop a plan for the likelihood of future flood events. We expect the design development phase will take at least two months, and perhaps a bit more.

We expect to pay for the restoration with insurance proceeds and with donated funds. We are working with our insurance company and FEMA to finish the claims process, and determine what this amount (and thus our budget) will be.

The school’s temporary campus is nearing completion, and our hope is to be moved in to it as well as to have our high school back in its regular home when school re-opens after the Christmas break. Additionally, we have a flooring solution that will allow us to use the Murray Center gym again—and that will be impervious to flooding.

Although progress can seem slow at times, we have dozens of our dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as our architects and various outside experts, working on our restoration and rebuilding, and we’ve made great strides since the floods. We don’t expect to see much visible progress other than the completion of the temporary campus for some time. We’ve several months of documentation work yet to do with FEMA and our insurance companies. We also won’t start major church restoration until we have finalized plans from our architect, to avoid duplication of effort and waste of money.

None of this would be possible without the love and support—in money, in time, in expertise, in prayer— of each of our congregants, parents, and friends. Thank you!