Sacred Places Fall 2011 - Page 23

PROFESSIONAL ALLIANCE SPOTLIGHT Church Restoration Group Over the course of one year, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Fort Pierce, FL, was hit by two hurricanes and a tropical storm. The church and its related school, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Academy, experienced serious issues with multiple buildings. To help manage and mitigate damage, St. Andrew’s brought in Church Restoration Group (CRG), a firm whose work focuses on disaster response and preparedness for historic religious structures. At St. Andrew’s, the severely damaged roof was quickly stabilized, but CRG’s most immediate priority was the school building. Matt Beahm, Facilities Consultant for the firm, explains, “It was essential to get kids back into their classes as quickly as possible. We were striving to return a sense of normalcy to the lives of the children in the community.” Thanks to CRG’s help, St. Andrew’s was the first private school in Fort Pierce to reopen after the storm. CRG was then able to turn its attention to finishing repairs to the stabilized roof. Church Restoration Group has more than 25 years of experience working with historic sacred places, and has restored approximately 500 National Register properties. Beahm, who has a background in disaster planning and architecture and has worked for the firm for over ten years, explains that what makes CRG unique is the company’s ability to “understand the unique nature of historic buildings and how to conduct historically sensitive work while also fixing the problems brought on by natural disasters.” Beahm’s skills, and those of the mitigation managers and crews that work with CRG, are complemented by the talents of the conservator and preservationist on staff. Together they have the knowledge and experience necessary to take action immediately after a disaster strikes a historic religious structure. One of Beahm’s talents, clearly evidenced at St. Andrew’s, is the ability to prioritize projects after a storm. He bases his decisions on both the level of damage and the repair costs for each project. After Hurricane Ike hit Galveston, TX, Partners for Sacred Places brought in CRG to help assess twelve places of worship that were affected by the storm. Beahm’s on- Church Restoration Group 9189 Marshall Road Cranberry Township, PA 16066 (877) 403-8569 Workers at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Academy clean computers that were damaged by natural disasters. Photo courtesy of Church Restoration Group. the-ground assessments allowed congregations to rebuild based on a list of ranked priorities, ensuring that the most essential projects were taken care of first. Due to the nature of hurricanes, CRG is able to estimate where they will most likely make landfall and mobilize in advance