In the two decades since Centennial Hall opened at All Saints Anglican Church, it has served the community by opening its doors to the Good Food Box, the Saturday Street Lunch, Sparks meetings and many other non-profit organizations in need of a place to meet or hold their events.
But as All Saints prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary, its 20-year-old hall is not holding up as well and is undergoing a massive repair to the structural problems that were discovered a little more than two years ago. What appeared to be a need only for cosmetic work turned out to be serious, more underlying problems to the structure of the hall.
The Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones, the priest at All Saints, said the damage is a result of a design flaw, which has led to moisture getting into the wall with nowhere for it to escape.
“We have completed the exploratory phase, which has allowed us to replace all the rotten posts and beams,” he said. “We have also removed the small amounts of mould that had begun to develop.
“We had a good look at the problem, got rid of the mould and we know exactly how much mould is there and exactly how much damage there was.”
With Acres Construction managing the renovation project, the west wall will be completely replaced, while the south and east walls will be patched.
“Some windows will be replaced while others will be refurbished, and the roof will also be replaced with a redesign that will include a properly designed overhang and gutter system,” said Harwood-Jones, adding that the total project budget remains at about $1 million, exclusive of legal, insurance, consulting and other professional fees.
Since the day it opened in 1893, All Saints has been committed to community service. To continue to fulfill its motto, “Help us Help Others,” All Saints is in the midst of a massive fundraising campaign for the hall renovation project, raising $350,000 so far towards its goal of $1 million and it is looking outside its own parishioners by turning to the community it serves for support.
“The Centennial Hall was built for two purposes: one, to provide a gathering place for our own functions, and two, to provide space for programs that serve our community,” said Harwood-Jones. “Two programs, in particular, could not operate if we did not provide the use of our hall at no cost: the Saturday Street Lunch and the Good Food Box. We host other community programs and events as well, for groups like AA, NA, Sparks, Children and Family Services, schools, Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports, and Venture Training.
“I think it’s fair to say that All Saints is upset that this has happened and worried about what impact the cost will have on our continued operations — there’s not much point in saving a building if we have to let go of the staff and cease operating.”
Project completion is set for the end of June, and there are a number of ways to donate to the Centennial Hall Repair Fundraiser: cheques can be mailed to All Saints Anglican Church, 3205-27th St., Vernon, B.C., V1T 4W8; online donations can be made at allsaintsvernon.org; and in person at the church, Tuesday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, call 250-542-3179 or follow All Saints on Facebook for updates.