This is the most significant renovation that has been completed in the church since 1890.
A steel structure has replaced the wood frame structure, which was not structurally sound, that supported the chancel. The steel was placed on new concrete footings under the chapel floor. New pilasters in the chapel enclose the new steel columns.
The marble rail and everything within that space remains unchanged.
The floor of the new chancel is a white/gray marble tile. The pattern matches the pattern of the old tile in the area of the old chancel. The new extension is marked by a different pattern of tile. The gold/brown accent tiles were removed, cleaned and relaid in the original pattern.
An altar table, credence tables and clergy chairs have been created. These have been made from southern pine that was recovered from the old chancel framing dating from 1890, and sapele, a mahogany like wood imported from West Africa.
New air outlets have been installed in the chancel ceiling and will be much less obtrusive than the ones previously installed.
New lighting provides additional illumination on the chancel ceiling.
There is a universal access ramp in the south east corner of the nave (where the font used to be) and reaches the chancel behind the pulpit.
New chairs have been purchased for lay readers and acolytes. Chairs have also been purchased for the chapel, these can be used as in fill seating in the open spaces.
The pulpit is located further forward than it was to provide room for the access ramp. The pulpit remains at the same height as before.
In the corner of the access ramp there is a “healing station”. This is intended to provide an intimate space for visitors to pray, for clergy to talk to parishioners and others in a sacred space and for healing prayer and anointing with oil.
There is a votive candle stand on the west edge of the chancel extension.
The curved front of the new chancel extends into the nave. The communion rail (removable) is located at the nave floor level so that communicants do not have to climb steps and communicants face the altar table while receiving communion.
All the new metalwork includes design elements from the historic fabric of the church interpreted in abstract ways.
The font is positioned at the head of the center aisle, close to where it was originally, and will be available for use in baptism. A glass bowl, that will sit in the marble font, has been commissioned to contain the water of baptism.
The piano is positioned in a new space at the front of the west pews so that it does not interfere with sight lines to the altar table.
There is no longer a divider in the middle of the center sections of pews allowing free flow of congregants to and from the aisles and should make flow to communion easier.
Space for the expanded chancel and the font was created by removing some pews and shortening others. Additional circulation space has been created at the rear.
To comport with tax credit requirements the new marble is quite different from the old so that one can see where changes have been made. The old marble continues to show the location of the original aisles and spaces.
Pew cushions have been refurbished to tighten buttons. New kneelers have been made for the communion rail.
The carpet under the pews has been removed and the original wood flooring under the pews is being refinished.
The original marble tile has been cleaned and restored to its original appearance. A low spot in the west aisle has been repaired.
There are new credence shelves at the rear of the nave for the offertory plates and elements. They are supported on brass interpretations of the marble supports under the credence tables near the marble altar.
New return air grills are located along the back wall of the nave. The grills that were located immediately inside the doors to the nave have been removed.
The protruding smoke detectors in the ceiling have been replaced by a detection system that is much less prominent.
All the lighting has been replaced and rewired. Spot lights are integral in the new torchiere light fixtures. All the lights are controlled from a single location.
New audio and video systems and speakers are installed. A desk containing the control equipment for the audio, video and lights is located at the rear of the east rank of pews. Video cameras have been installed. Audio/video feed from the church to Scott Hall has been installed to allow for overflow crowds.
There are new railings on the gallery wall at the end of each aisle, and along the back wall in front of the organ.. These are an abstract interpretation of the medallions on the gallery front. Pipe railings have been installed behind the gallery pews.
Three HVAC air handlers have been replaced, two in the undercroft and one in the tower. The air handler in the tower has reheat capability that should improve humidity and temperature control in the nave. Two chiller pumps have been replaced.
New upgraded fire detectors and alarm systems have been installed.
The walls and ceilings of the sanctuary and narthex have been completely repainted in colors that match the color when the project began. Plaster has been patched and gaps sealed.
Storage cabinets have been installed in the narthex
Touch screen video displays are being installed in the narthex to allowing the diplay of information for visitors and watching the activity in the church.
Main doors are being painted red, as has the chapel door.
The area in front of the colonnade has been re-paved and leveled. A new railing has been installed at the top step.
The chapel has been redecorated and has a new ceiling and lighting. Wall sconces from the gallery have been installed on the pilasters. New carpet is being laid.
We will continue to post updates and photographs on https://stpaulsrenovation.org/
Many thanks to all who worked and contributed to make this a reality.