Working on the fundamentals: Rossland’s Red Roof church getting restoration

Foundation work will begin next year, says project manager

Rossland’s Red Roof church is receiving a grant to upgrade its foundation and fix some architectural features. File photo

One of Rossland’s most iconic buildings is getting some TLC.

St. Andrew’s Church — the Red Roof Church, on the corner of Queen Street and 1st Avenue, which dates to 1898 — is going to have more than $340,000 spent on upgrading its foundation and historical features.

“This is wonderful news for the building. What we’re trying to do is make it more relevant for the community,” says Brenda Hopper, the chair of the project management committee for the building.

The money is coming from the Built Heritage grant program of the Columbia Basin Trust, and was announced last week. It granted $344,000 to replace the wooden foundation of the building and revitalize exterior heritage features, says Hooper.

“We’re doing a big job on the building so that it can be there for another 100 years,” says Hooper.

The work will be focused on the foundation of the main portion of the church, known as the sanctuary, says Hooper.

“It’s actually quite dry and good, but our engineering report tells us there’s concrete-on-wood, and that’s not good,” she says. “And the walls are sagging outwards a bit, so we may be putting in some new restraining bands on those features.

“It’s pretty good, but if it’s going to last another 100 years, there’s stuff that has to be done.”

The work won’t change the iconic red roof and features that make the building a town landmark, even though those features aren’t original to the building. Sharp-eyed heritage building buffs may see some of the architectural features receiving upgrades through this project, she says.

“The [consultants] said take a couple of features, there’s some porticoes on front we may be restoring, but we’ll keep the white stucco and red roof there,” she says.

This is the third year that Hooper’s group, the Community’s Faith Pastoral Charge, has received funding for St. Andrews. That money went into hiring consultants and working out a project plan.

This new grant will let them develop exact plans and budgets for the work to be done, which will likely start next summer. The construction won’t interfere with the other groups using other portions of the building, she says.

“If you rehabilitate or conserve a building, you’re doing it to be full of people, not empty,” she says. “So it’s another year before we can do some work.

“We’re just in the preliminary phase now. We have some money, we can get better plans, get quotes. Then look at other funding to do the whole project.”

There are plenty of other projects do be done, says Hooper, as the church slowly moves from just being a place of worship to one that the community can use for other purposes. The old United Church has been re-purposed as, among other things, a study area for students for Seven Summits School.

But Hooper says those activities, though welcome, put strains on the building’s century-old infrastructure.

“We plugged the coffee pot in on Sunday, and the school has 50 computers charging,” she says. “That blew a fuse.”

Those kinds of upgrades will have to wait for other, more fundamental work to be done first.

Funds for opera

The Red Roof Church is not the only organization to get a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust this year.

The Rossland Light Opera Players are also receiving $4,200 to upgrade the electrical system of their building, the old Bodega Hotel, for “safety and functionality.”

In total, the Columbia Basin Trust is supporting 17 projects with more than $2.4 million in grants.

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The white stucco and red roof isn’t original to the 120-year-old St. Andrew’s Church. Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre photo

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