Fire Sprinkler & Deterrence Project Update

Over the summer there has been a lot of progress. We received news in June that two large grants, from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, had been approved. An additional gift was received from Linzee and Beth Coolidge. This gave us confidence to go forward with planning to complete the work in 2017, hoping to finish by Thanksgiving.

On Monday September 11th the excavator, Manny Nunes, will begin the trench work between the fire hydrant at the end of Gould Court and our building for the 6” water line. In consultation with the City and our new neighbors in the caramel-color house next to the parking lot, a new hydrant will be installed on the sidewalk to give them off-street parking and our parking lot will be enlarged. The new water line will enter the building on the Gould Court side of the backstage room. Access to the Vestry door for The Grace Center and Church events will stay open.

Also on that Monday, a work trailer will placed on the lawn near the side parking lot for the Fire-Sprinkler installer, Berry Fire Protection from Groveland, MA. The pipes and sprinkler heads for the system have been laid out following the carefully developed schematic of our sprinkler engineer, Bob Cummings. Dan Berry and his crew will prepare the parts in the trailer, starting with installation in the attic over the Sanctuary. A specialized crew, led by (Ward Councilor) Jamie O’Hara, will paint any exposed sprinkler pipes to match the surroundings.

A carpentry crew led by Jim Clarizia of Lighthouse Construction will be carefully making openings for the pipes and equipment throughout the building. In July they completed preparations for the Sanctuary wall pocket insulation by sealing the open space between the exterior walls and the framing of the wrap-around balcony.

Also in preparation for the walls being infilled with insulation, Nick Toarmina’s crew from Spittle Electric completed the installation of conduit, outlet boxes, and electrical boxes for the eventual restoration of our wall sconces. The locations match those of the gas sconces following the major 1868 renovation.

The wall-insulation material selected by our thermal engineering firm, Resilient Buildings Group, is called AirKrete. It is a fireproof “green” product with a high R value made from magnesium drawn from seawater. Unlike other kinds of foam insulation it contains no harmful chemicals, is water-based but semi-dry, and does not expand during application. In October we anticipate two crews to be working from lifts around the exterior of the building, carefully removing clapboards at about 3’ intervals, pouring in the AirKrete through openings in the wall sheathing like layers of a cake, and replacing the clapboards afterwards. Our faithful Buildings & Grounds “angel” Newt Fink will gather a crew to pre-paint some new clapboards on the ground in preparation for replacing some fragile old clapboards lost during the process.

We are carefully coordinating the project work schedule with the Church and Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation calendar to minimize any interference between our services, programming and work of The Grace Center.