If you have walked by St. Mark’s Church on the corner of 3rd and A Streets SE recently, you may have noticed some new arrivals – three trailers have taken up residence in the church’s courtyard. A major building renovation is underway that affects not only church members and neighbors, but also the wider Capitol Hill community, such as people that take yoga and dance in the Dance Studio, participants in AA and Alanon meetings, and and those served by community service organizations, such as Capitol Hill Group Ministry.
Mike Townsend, a parishioner who’s leading the capital campaign to fund the renovation, answered some questions about the project and what it means for the neighborhood. (Updated 1/28/13: read below)
What’s happening and what’s in the trailers?
The church is embarking upon a renovation of its historic Parish Hall (built in 1926). As part of the project, the church sold its property at 118 3rd Street, known as “Baxter House,” which has housed the parish offices for nearly 30 years. In December the property was sold to a family, who will turn it back into a residence. The church staff, including Rector Paul R. Abernathy, has relocated to the temporary trailers until renovation of the Parish Hall is completed.
The church is planning to put a second floor in the Parish Hall, which will house the staff offices, and also dig out beneath the foyer and Parish Hall to create more meeting spaces, both for Sunday School classes, church activities as well as for community use.
What’s the timeline for the project?
Construction is expected to start this coming summer and be completed by in summer 2014, after which time the trailers will be removed and the courtyard restored to its original condition.
What does all this mean for the neighborhood?
No changes are expected to the façade of the Parish Hall that faces A Street. The roof line on the rear of the building will be altered, and solar panels installed on the roof, but none of that will be visible from A Street.
Parish leaders held two meetings with immediate neighbors in December to discuss the plans and hear concerns. More meetings are expected in the coming months, and the parish also plans to have a portion of its website (www.stmarks.net) dedicated to project news, so that neighbors will know the schedule and when to expect unusual noise, dust or other conditions.
Once construction starts, the St. Mark’s Dance Studio will be closed until the project is completed. The church’s historic Nave (completed in 1894) will not be affected by the construction and will remain open for services throughout the project. ETA: While the St. Mark’s Dance studio rooms will be closed for renovation, classes will be held in the nave, on an adjusted schedule if necessary. The finalized schedule will be available at the time of registration for fall 2013 classes.
How much has been raised so far?
So far, $1.3 million has been raised from church members.
Finally, is it true there’s a beer brewed especially for St Mark’s?
Yes, and there’s also a pub in the parish house.