Damage & Decisions Leading to Building Closure
back to Redeemer Final Weekend

To understand the twin "seeds of destruction" that damaged the HVAC system for the complex at 200 Telephone, and spalling of concrete from the Education building, here is a primer on how these were constructed.  Important to note that building design decisions in the 1930s predated the availability of commercial air-conditioning.

Heating and Ventilation
The HVAC system was installed in the basement under the Parish Hall built in the 1930s, not in the basement of the new sanctuary built in the early 1950s which replaced the World War 1 era original church. The Parish Hall basement had ventilation inlets at street level, raised above sidewalk level. Unfortunately, when Tropical Storm Allison struck in 2001, the water level in the streets was deepest on record, and the basement flooded to a depth of four feet. Since then, those air inlets have been sealed, so the only air comes through the HVAC system.

Insurance replaced the Parish Hall floor, and refurbished the Sanctuary basement level, but unfortunately the HVAC system - which was still able to run after being flooded - was not replaced. During 2007 through 2009, parts of the HVAC system started to fail, and Vestry spent significant money rebuilding compressors, replacing a plugged heat exchanger, repairing electrical controls, installing new chemical treatment and replacing cooling tower.

Education Building Spalling
The concrete mix used in the 1930s did not have benefit of the knowledge of what causes spalling, and so this entire building became subject to spalling of concrete as rebar rusted and expanded. It was exacerbated by lightning strikes to the bell-tower, which when discharging to ground turned water to steam, and which blew off a huge chunk in June 2007 breaking a beam in the parish hall roof, repaired under insurance including rebuilding the entire parapet in lightweight materials.

The multi-year vestry project to install cellular antennas in the tower parapet was about more than just a steady revenue stream, or improved cellular signals. T-Mobile also agreed to install a lightning-strike protection system which harmlessly grounds a strike through a new thick conductor, this minimising strikes on the tower's concrete. But prior cracks continued inexorable rusting, and by the time the church closed there was wooden protective walkways to shield from falling chunks.

Diocesan Role in Decisions
In late 2010 through early 2011, the Diocese did a Facility Assessment - this was reported earlier in the Requiem page created when this website was set up after the final weekend 25-27 February 2011. The sober conclusion was that it could take millions to do all repairs. When combined with a Congregational Assessment  done in 2005,  and a 2009 update on membership and finances, the conclusion was that the current congregation could not sustain operations in those facilities.

The Senior Warden provided two congregational letters summarizing the situation, first assessment entitled "For I Know The Plans I have For You"  in Dec 2010, then the Requiem letter. The Diocese offered four options: 1) mission status, (2) diaspora (dissolve the congregation and everyone go wherever each one chooses), (3) become a house church, and (4) lease the vacant building of the Santa Cruz mission. 

Congregation ultimately chose NOT to move four miles to then-vacant mission church at 710 Medina near Brady's Landing, but instead to become a Sunday afternoon congregation in a nearer Redeemer Lutheran church at 5700 Lawndale, just a mile and a half away. They meet there to this day: see www.RedeemerHouston.org

Episcopal Church of the Redeemer-2014 in annual Pentecost photo.

Taken outside of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

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