Point Roberts Trinity Church in danger of collapsing

By Pat Grubb

The Trinity Community Lutheran Church, a staple in Point Roberts since 1913, is in danger of collapsing and in need of $ 200,000 in repairs, according to Andy Mar, who heads the fundraiser.

“We’re in a pretty dire situation,” Mar said in an interview with Point Roberts Press, parent company of Northern light. The shrine has been condemned and no one is allowed to enter it after examination by a building engineer and contractor.

Last winter Louise Cassidy noticed the west wall of the sanctuary tilted outward and asked Tom Sheridan of Sheridan Construction to assess the condition of the building. The church’s insurance company, Brotherhood Mutual, subsequently hired John MacLeod, PE, to inspect the building.

MacLeod reported that “the lateral movement of the side walls was the result of an outward thrust imposed on the walls due to the gravity load of the roof above. It is a question of original construction. At the time, the wall bulged about six inches from the vertical plane; it has grown even further since then.

The report noted that two tension wires were installed in the 1990s to consolidate the walls and had “solved the problem to some extent.”

To further complicate the problem, MacLeod found that an uneven settlement caused the southwest corner of the ground to be four and a half inches lower than the opposite corner.

In addition, he found that the wooden pillars supporting the floor were not mechanically attached to the floor joists or to the concrete footings below. Many pillars seemed to be off-center from the soles. In the event of an earthquake, nothing would prevent the building from slipping off concrete footings and most likely collapsing.

To rectify the situation, Mar said the church needed $ 100,000 to immediately consolidate the west wall. This would be accomplished by installing steel plates on opposite sides of the building and connecting them with seven steel cables.

The work would take place in two phases, Mar said. After the initial work to save the building, the next phase would be to build a real foundation and a new entrance for the building.

Each phase would require $ 100,000, or $ 200,000 in total. Work on the first phase has already started.

In a letter detailing construction costs, Tom Sheridan wrote: “After thinking about all the different ways to go about this, David Bradley and I think this is the best way to go… with maintenance, ensures the use of the church for the next 100 years and beyond. This will protect the church from further settlement, wall and roof sprawl, and seismic events. Basically it saves the structure of the church.

The church has already started its fundraising campaign and is seeking help from the community to save the historic building. To date, he has raised $ 50,000 but obviously a lot more is needed and soon.

Mar says that although the church has a GoFundMe link on its web page, it would prefer checks and can accept US and Canadian currency. Donors will receive a US or Canadian tax receipt.

Donations can also be made at the Umpqua Bank branch in Point Roberts. Checks can be mailed to Trinity Community Lutheran Church, PO Box 437, Point Roberts, WA 98281.

For more information, visit pointrobertschurch.com.


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