A Facilities Update Mid 2023

We who are St. John’s Church in 2023 have inherited a beautiful church campus that we use for God’s ministry and preserve for the future. Here is an update on some of the things we have undertaken in recent months and are planning for the future.

Last fall, we planted two Princeton Sentry gingko trees along Holly Street, columnar in shape, so as not to be in the power lines as they mature. We also planted a bed of bi-color Asian jasmine in the eroded right of way, near the sundial, along Wheat Street, which is now flourishing. Our patio and Memorial Garden pots have been filled with seasonal flowers. Extensive power washing by several of the men of the church this spring has improved the appearance of those areas. We removed some overly large crepe myrtles from the west property line of the church, which were filling the gym gutters with debris and prevented access to mechanical rooms.

We contracted with a welder to restore all of the metal railings on Heyward Hall, the church and throughout the Memorial Garden. They were removed, scraped, and powder-coated to produce a lasting finish. The Memorial Garden gates were restored to proper function as well. The bell tower door railings were raised to a proper height for safety, by current building codes.

We have a contract with the WB Guimarin Company for the delivery of a new 90-ton air-cooled chiller to serve the three levels of Heyward Hall. The current chiller, about 19 years old, is operating at half-capacity; we hope it will get through the summer. The new chiller costs $170,000 and will be installed, by crane, in September. Chillers are the exterior units that produce the cold water necessary for the cooling of large buildings.

We also began a new relationship with a custodial contractor in January. Repairs were made to the slate roof of the church proper, after leaks over the winter. A new mixer/amplifier has been ordered for the church sound system, after the recent failure of its predecessor, which served us for over 10 years.

Plans are being made in several areas. The parking lot is due for sealing and striping. We are also exploring adding a handicap access curb cut closer to the church ramp and replacing the bollard lighting between the church and Heyward Hall. The gym’s soiled carpet floor is being considered. Vestry members plan to visit a church gym in Camden later this summer, where a new vinyl gym floor is being installed. That might prove an affordable improvement, both for athletic use and fellowship gatherings. An early estimate for a new floor is $60,000. Your interest in any of these projects is welcome, as a donor or as a participant in the work of the Property Committee. Contact the Senior Warden, Charlie Sterne (803-351-0649, cwsterne@gmail.com) or Fr. Beasley (803-602-6431, nmb@stjohnscolumbia.org). Laura Fowles, our Parish Administrator, is doing an excellent job managing our many vendor relationships and coordinating the weekly work of our campus. The Living Stones Fund in our endowment and your giving make it possible to care for our campus, towards the future God has for our church.

Learn more about other important updates in the latest church newsletter: The Epistle – June 15, 2023

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