St. Paul's Church begins rebuilding

Newly remodeled sanctuary will be a blend of old, new

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— After sitting idle for a year, St. Paul's Episcopal Church has started building its new $2 million church again.

Over the years, the church has managed to round up old stones that match the historical church that sits on Oak Street.

"We have some stone we salvaged from a number of old buildings in town," said Father David Henderson.

Henderson said the new sanctuary will feature heavy wooden timbers, a wooden ceiling and plaster walls, along with a choir loft.

"It's kind of an interesting blend of traditional and contemporary elements," Henderson said.

"It should be acoustically very good for musical performances," Henderson said.

The old church, now a Routt County Historical site, seats only 100 people. That has forced the church to provide three services on Sunday morning since the parish has grown to 200 families.

The new sanctuary will be connected to the old church on one side, and to the Lowell Whiteman Primary School on the other side.

The Whiteman school sits on St. Paul's property, which runs along Oak Street between Eighth and Ninth streets.

The two groups joined forces and built the new school, which was finished last April.

"We each ended up with a building that we couldn't have afforded alone," Henderson said.

St. Paul has use of the Whiteman school on weeknights and weekends and uses the school as a parish hall and for Sunday school classes.

With an old historical stone church on one side, and a new stucco school on the other, how did the Austin-based architects manage to blend in the new church?

Architect Arthur Andersson said having the old stone and then blending in stucco, made the transition from building to building work.

"The big idea is that we're making a profile on Oak Street that connects the scale of the existing church," Andersson said from his Austin office.

Andersson said they wanted the buildings to have the same kind of skyline character that you see on the downtown buildings on Lincoln Avenue.

The outline of the new building will be traced with the old stone. The new church tower pops up, then the outline of the building drops back down to flow with the school's profile.

"We're hoping to enview the block with an interesting profile up against the sky," Andersson said.

"It will be more like main street, where you have a continuous fabric of building."

Parishioner Cindy Maddox, a senior warden at the church, is pleased with the plans.

"This will be architecturally a nice addition to Oak Street," Maddox said.

"He's done a wonderful job of working with a historic structure and creating a very aesthetically pleasing addition to what used to be an eyesore," she said, referring to the old apartment buildings that once sat beside the church.

Andersson said parts of the roof will be made of zincalume.

"It's kind of a silvery gray, slightly more gray than the school," Andersson said.

"We liked the way the light reflected off that."

Like many traditional churches, windows will also make up an important part of the church. Andersson expects stained glass will be the choice of church leaders.

While St. Paul's was concerned with the architectural integrity, building the new facility had to do with common-sense needs.

The church will provide a new child-care facility and a cry room.

"Our nursery facilities are limited," Henderson said.

"It's not unusual to have 20 little preschool children and babies on a Sunday morning, so the new space will accommodate them."

But don't think the new church is replacing the old structure in the hearts of its members.

The old church will continue to be used as a chapel.

"It's going to be an integral part of our program, it's not secondary at all," Maddox said.

"We're not replacing anything."

Framing begins in May. The church should be completed by April 2002.

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