For 165 years, St. John’s Lutheran Church of Sweet Air has provided worship and community services in Phoenix, Maryland. Starting out in a wooden building on a family farm, the church has grown to include a chapel, a parsonage, the Worship Center and the Fellowship Hall. With hopes for continued growth, the church selected Kinsley’s Custom division to provide renovations and expand the space.
Our work included replacing a crumbling ramp with a reinforced 2,200-square-foot concrete ramp with metal railings; expanding the lobby by 360 square feet, including a vaulted skylight, storefront glass and outside patio with a folly wall with built-in planters; and demolishing the existing restrooms and constructing new ADA-accessible ones. We also installed:
- Slate tile floors that extend onto the patio
- High-end oak millwork throughout the interior
- New doors to the Fellowship Hall
- Two new HVAC units and associated ductwork
- An additional concrete ramp, sidewalks and curbs
We also partnered with our Site division to complete the exterior demolition, earthwork, excavation, fill, final grading and seeding.
A SMALL SPACE WITH BIG CHALLENGES
The most challenging thing about this project: the limited space our team had to work in, according to our Concrete Foreman, Bill Russell. “Between piles of soil and excavated concrete, and trying to keep the layout points intact while getting a concrete truck in to pour it, was challenging.” Bill explained that between his crew, and Custom’s Foreman, Nick Logue, and Project Manager, Jed Smith, they carefully coordinated the work and held bi-weekly meetings to review upcoming activity and delivery schedules to avoid site congestion.
This team approach to finding solutions was integral throughout the project. The folly wall – a round, decorative concrete wall with plants – served as a challenge for the team as well. Nick was thankful that Bill was on site to oversee its construction. “It was something new and challenging to me, but Bill knew exactly what to do.” To create the wall, Bill and his crew made a radius wall using Simon forms. When they set the inner and outer forms, they attached ¼-inch plywood to the inside and shimmed them to make a smooth radius. Next, they installed brace inserts from the precast plant to secure the slab to the wall. Then, they hung flexible vinyl boards, called Azec, to the top of the wall to make a planting trough.
It was also particularly challenging to stick to the original schedule after facing design changes, material delays due to COVID shutdowns and unforeseen site conditions. Originally the design included one HVAC unit, but the owners asked to add a second one over the sanctuary, which required changes to the design to accommodate additional flashing by the roofer. Like many other construction projects, COVID delayed most of the material lead times. To help stick to our schedule, we switched the slate tile to a material that we could receive sooner. Also during excavation, the Site crew discovered an existing concrete footer. The team quickly executed a change order to have the footer removed and the area backfilled with stone and compacted. Thanks to everyone’s collaboration, we were able to complete the project in April.