Church Stories

May 30, 2019

Summer 2019 Project

Written by: Julia Smolucha

Construction Begins

From June 10 through the beginning of September, Kenilworth Union will undergo a renovation project to address critical maintenance issues. Last fall the Buildings and Grounds Committee, with professional assistance from several companies, conducted a comprehensive review of our buildings and programs and identified several issues that we must deal with immediately.

The most significant is the failure of the retaining wall along the Skokie ditch, which is compromising the north foundation wall of the church. We also have 14 failing and end-of-lifecycle HVAC rooftop units; invasive ivy that is causing leaks in the sanctuary, including above the organ; leaks in the basement of the church and the manse; enclosure leaks in some of the church windows; and poor energy efficiency due to the lack of insulation under the slate roof.

Our summer work will include rebuilding the retaining wall; replacing the roof top HVAC units; tuck pointing the stone exterior; waterproofing both the church and the manse; fixing leaking windows; replacing most of the flat top roof of the church; and adding insulation to the sanctuary roof. The Village has approved this plan and is reviewing our permit applications at this time. We have sent letters to the neighbors notifying them of our work plans this week.

Throughout the duration of the project, the church building will be open as usual, with only minimal indoor work. The manse, however, will be inaccessible due to the operation of heavy equipment on the north side of the property for the retaining wall. One construction fence will restrict access to the manse, as well as the Church’s west entrance and the north side of the Church building. Another fence will restrict entry to the area west of the Robinson Garden.

We planned to do the work over the summer when it will have the least impact on most of our programs and activities. Unfortunately, we did have to suspend Rummage this summer since the sale and its preparation require use of the manse and the lawn on the north side of the property.

Addressing these building issues now eliminates significant risks to our building, reduces energy costs, and helps preserve our church for the future. We are grateful to have the financial resources and the understanding of our congregation to undertake this much-needed work.

May 30, 2019

Skokie Ditch on the north side of Kenilworth Union Church
Ivy removal
Construction fence installed June 10