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Details on the completion of the Grace Church tower project

Celebrate the completed Tower restoration on Jan. 11

Save_the_Tower_logo_WEB.jpgOn Sunday, Dec. 21, Tom Zurowski, co-chair of the Save the Tower Campaign shared this Mission Moment with the congregation during worship services.

Along with Christa Krout and everyone on the Save the Tower Committee I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the campaign. If you looked up on your way into church today, you saw that the tower repairs are complete and it looks amazing.

To summarize the campaign, as of December 15, $1.5 million has been pledged to the campaign, and $1.2 million has been received. We originally estimated the cost of repairs at $1 million, and, with the addition of benevolence pledges and administrative expenses, a total project cost of $1.2 million.

While the engineers did a thorough investigation of visible existing conditions before we started, the tower was in much worse shape than we thought. Cracks that were thought to be due to foundation settlement were actually related to water penetration from top to bottom. As a result, while we estimated we would replace 126 stones, we ended up replacing 394, more than three times the original estimate. Hidden from plain view, some of the masonry backing was also damaged and had to be repaired. Mortar has been replaced throughout the tower, and we are confident the tower is fixed and stable.

As a result of the additional work, the total project cost of repairing the tower, including benevolence and administrative costs, is $1,562,000 or about 4 percent more than has been pledged. If you have not made a pledge or gift to the campaign and can now help, we still need some significant support and hope you will consider contributing to this final phase of the campaign.

Also important to note, we’ve made preliminary payments to the benevolence portion of our project costs and have increased our benevolence commitment in proportion to the strong level of pledges received. We are confident no maintenance on the tower will be required for about ten years.

We hope all of you can join us in re-dedicating the tower on January 11, when we plan to ring the new carillon for the first time and let all of River Forest know we have successfully completed the tower repairs. If you have additional questions, we will summarize the project in greater detail at the January 18 congregation meeting.

Thanks again for everyone’s support!