Work continues on St. Mary's church steeple

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Additional work necessary due to water damage

Workers making repairs on the steeple at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pierce City will be on the job a bit longer than they originally anticipated, having found a significant amount of water damage to its brick and mortar structure.

Workers originally estimated replacing about 300 bricks in the original proposal, but have had to revise that number to approximately 800 bricks to completely repair the steeple.

The work became necessary when trustees discovered the damage and contacted Mid-Continental Restoration, out of Fort Scott, Kan.

The damage, caused by years of extreme weather cycles ranging from sub-zero temperatures in the winter to triple-digit numbers in the summer, has allowed water to seep into bricks and mortar, cracking some of the bricks and allowing water to seep into the steeple.

"When they got up there, they discovered much damage in the upper part of the steeple," said Father Peter Morciniec. "How much, we do not know at this time. There is speculation of $20,000, but we are not sure."

Members of the Parish Council met Wednesday evening, but Morciniec said he needed more information before the trustees and congregation could proceed.

"Danny Bowman and Boonie King are serving as liaisons with the company," Morciniec said.

Trustees have instructed workers to repair and seal the bricks properly in an effort to prevent further deterioration of the iconic structure.

The original scope of work was estimated to take between six and seven weeks.

The original contract called for the steeple repair, scraping, priming and painting the louvre vents on the tower, and cleaning and waterproofing of the rest of the building at a cost of about $68,000.

With the additional replacement bricks, workers are not able to determine the additional time needed to complete the job.

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