Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
If you knew what to look for in the past 60 years, you could always find St. Therese Catholic Church at Navajo and Waring roads in San Carlos.
All you needed to see was the 100-foot tower beside the church building itself. You could see it from quite a distance away.
You can still see it … sort of.
The tower is slowly being rebuilt, starting around two years ago, because of long-term damage that could have eventually caused the tower to collapse.
What brought this about? Simple.
“Water damage,” said Father Peter Bosque. “Anyone who’s ever had to repair and renovate old homes knows what the problems are. Rot, mold, all the things that happen to old, basically wooden structures happened here.”
Things like this often involve several city departments signing off on the project, issuing permits and doing ongoing inspections.
“We decided to try to avoid all that, and what we’re doing is ‘like to like’ replacement of everything,” Father Bosque explained. “In other words, we’re redoing the tower the way it was originally built — replacing wood with wood; collecting, cleaning and rehabilitating all the decorative tile work from the original; and reinstalling it where it was before. No steel, no real modern building materials, nothing that wasn’t a copy of the original. Under the law, you’re allowed to do that without the permitting processes.”
Of course, that takes time and money — a lot of money.
Father Bosque cringes a little when he considers the cost of all this.
“We started out with a budget target of about $327,000. Now, we’re figuring on about $600,000. But we’re going to get what we want out of it, someday.”
“Someday” speaks to the slow pace of the job, but no one’s in a major hurry to get it all done. There have been rain delays and other problems that just happen.
Father Bosque said the church started planning for the tower rebuild two years ago and the construction began in August 2017.
He’s hoping for a finish in October of this year or so — but, he said, there are no guarantees.
But that’s what good priests provide: Hope.
— Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at email@example.com.